‘The Whaler Boy’ Review: A Potent If Uneven Coming-of-Age Drama With a Striking, Lyrical Edge

Chukotka, where Indigenous teenager Lyoshka (Vladimir Onokhov, perfectly expressive despite a face that could be carved from stone) lives a hardscrabble life in a remote whaling village, is the easternmost part of Russia. Beautiful in a forbidding, raw-boned way, with about half its territory above the Arctic Circle, it is separated from the westernmost Alaskan reaches of America by just 86 kilometers. But the cultural distance is immeasurably more vast, and only increased when Lyoshka’s village gets the internet, and, in an amusing tableau worthy of Aki Kaurismäki, burly men in weathered oilskins cluster round a glitchy screen on which blond camgirls pout in pink bedrooms for pay-per-minute customers.

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