Blair Russell’s review published on Letterboxd:
I don't remember when I first heard about this, but indeed it is impossible to forget about a motion picture when you hear it's Ukrainian, it's in that native tongue's sign language and there's no voiceover or subtitles to translate what is being signed. I had no idea WHY it was done that way and well, after viewing it last night I still don't know. I realize that most people won't agree with me here, but I found this to be yet another “pretentious horses---” film.
I kept an open mind about the plot: all I had heard was that a new teenage boy enrolls in a boarding school and he falls into a gang; I did not realize that-as I've seen comparisons to-this gang is like the Droogs of A Clockwork Orange and while the school is rundown and crappy, the entire story is just unbelievable and preposterous as hell; really, that gang engages in underage female prostitution with some of their classmates? I cannot possibly believe this could actually happen, it's so absurd. There are many more absurdities that are even harder to accept could happen but I won't spoil it. Just note that this movie was thoroughly unpleasant, filled with loathsome characters and not enjoyable at all to watch. I have to warn everyone that there are at least a very very graphic moments. It's overlong at 132 minutes to boot. I did not think this was a journey worth taking... and oh God, that ending...
As for the gimmick, you end up following the general story just fine, although again I don't know why it was done that way unless it was just to be a gimmick. I wish it would have been done for an actual enjoyable motion picture instead. The movie was also filmed in long takes where the camera moves then stops for a long while, or it just stays stationary. I don't know why that was done either but that was the least of my problems with this, as the cinematography was good; I already explained what my main issues were... also, what was the point of this movie to begin with? That “deaf people are just like us... including being atrocious and depraved”? I have no idea. I hope the point wasn't “to be extremely shocking and daring”, although I wonder if that's the case. Well, to me it takes a lot more than that to leave a positive impression.
Like I said, this is pretentious horses--- and I should have realized this from its central conceit alone but I didn't. Lesson learned.