"Never drive in Russia" is the first takeaway from The Road Movie, an hour-long compilation of footage from Russian dash cams. As Wired wrote in 2013, "The sheer size of the country, combined with lax—and often corrupt—law enforcement, and a legal system that rarely favors first-hand accounts of traffic collisions, has made dash cams all but a requirement for motorists"—and hoo boy, is their video nuts.
Over icy roads, and usually accompanied by poorly subtitled Russian ("Fuck a duck, bitch"), there are... well, okay: jaw-dropping crashes and near-misses, with cars spinning through traffic, launching off roads, and tumbling into the air. A bear that runs, and shits, as it flees an oncoming car. ("Fucking great," says the driver. "That's the thing I needed.") There's road rage that puts Americans' to shame, in part because sometimes it involves sledgehammers, and sometimes it involves heads smashing into windshields, and sometimes it involves a particularly well-armed gentleman with both a hatchet and a handgun. There's a... horse crash? There are explosions. Never drive in Russia.
It's fascinating—and fucked up. Each clip in The Road Movie is delivered with zero context, and some of these horrific crashes have to be fatal. Yet even those are treated with no more gravity than the others; as onlookers worry if other drivers have been killed, The Road Movie just moves on to the next bit of insanity. The Road Movie is by turns oddly beautiful (there are some gorgeous landscapes and a surreal forest fire), blithely grotesque (there's a fair amount of casual roadkill), and legitimately disturbing (that Faces of Death angle, which, fucking gross).
But as the crashes continue, and continue, it's impossible not to be reminded of the cold reality of driving: 40,200 Americans were killed in car accidents in 2016 alone, and according to the World Health Organization, Russia's road fatality rate is almost double that of the United States. So maybe there's another takeaway: Humans are incapable of driving safely. Hurry up with the self-driving cars, Google.