Drljaca’s sole concern in the conception of Krivinia seems to be for a distancing effect. His atmosphere is bizarre, straddling the line between mystery and realism in a way that never truly settles into a satisfying balance. The narrative, about a man searching for his friend who has supposedly committed war crimes, is almost of no importance at all: the film frequently circles around to a car conversation which at the end is heavily implied to not even be a conversation, it focuses on a bus crash in a small village in Serbia, and much of the middle of the movie is taken up by the main character’s life in Toronto. The friend is never found, the suggestion of ghosts is made, and there are numerous echoes to previous scenes that don’t seem to hold any intrinsic meaning.
Therefore, the only truly interesting aspect is the filmmaking itself, which does compensate a great deal for the relatively inert nature of the other aspects. It isn’t necessarily experimental (only the inexplicable insertion of some color bars into a landscape shot is startling) but it is undeniably effective. Kirivinia avoids close-ups, preferring either the handheld tracking shot from behind that follows the main character through the landscape or medium-to-long shots that definitively emphasize the environment and the figure rather than the character. There is almost no interiority to his personality, and he is played largely as a blank slate, but it works to a certain extent, matching his fruitless and frequently digressive journey. Aside from an inexplicably ominous score, Kirivinia remains solid on a technical level, and engrossing enough as a whole, though it offers little in the way of narrative engagement.