Private Project


The subject of the movie "Reflection" is the story of an apparently average man, who is trying to make money by being a hired killer in order to earn money to save his ill child. The main idea of this film is that no matter how the motive of the hired killer, or the antihero who kills criminals, is noble, there is no way out from the vicious circle of crime.

  • Vuk Markovic
    Eqvilibrium Vitae
  • Vuk Markovic
    Eqvilibrium Vitae
  • Jeroen Frech
    Eqvilibrium Vitae (Rockstock Productions) / Invested in "Kidnapping Mr Heineken" starring Anthony Hopkins and invested in script development of "Lost in Amsterdam"
  • Pavle Ilić
    Key Cast
    U ime oca i sina (1999), Budva na pjenu od mora (2012)
  • Ornela Vištica
    Key Cast
    Larin izbor (2011), Vatre Ivanjske (2014) and Spica(2011)
  • Ana Kovač
    Key Cast
    Film Debut (Child)
  • Branimir Popović
    Key Cast
    minister of culture, Montenegro / director of City Theatre Podgorica, capital of Montenegro / director of Montenegro National Theatre (MNT)
  • Predrag Bjelac
    Key Cast
    The Omen(2006) / Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
  • Emir Ćatović
    Key Cast
    Eqvilibrium Vitae (2013) and TV series
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Action, Thriller, Drama
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 21 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 10, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Croatian, Serbian
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Cannes Film Festival (Short Film Corner), 2015
    Cannes, France
    May 18, 2015
  • Humphrey Bogart Film Festival - Student Short Film Competition
    Key Largo, Miami, USA
    October 21, 2015
    North American Premiere
    Winner "NEO-NOIR" Genre Prize
  • Indian Cine Film Festval 2015
    Mumbai, India
    September 19, 2015
    Indian Premiere
    Best Cinematography
Director Biography - Vuk Markovic

Vuk Markovic was born in 1974 in Cetinje, Montenegro, where he finished his elementary and high school. He is a senior undergraduate student of archaeology at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade and completed the specialist studies at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Film and TV Directing Department, Cetinje. (Montenegro)(2015)

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

(Duration: 16 min.)

12th January 2015
Cetinje, Montenegro

The subject of the movie "Reflection" is the story of an apparently average man, who is trying to make money by being a hired killer in order to earn money to save his ill child. The main idea of this film is that no matter how the motive of the hired killer, or the antihero who kills criminals, is noble, there is no way out from the vicious circle of crime.

Synopsis/ Plot summary


The unknown man is running through the forest, passing through the branches, while someone is aiming the sniper rifle at him. While he’s running away through the woods and trying to find the way out, he comes out to the clearing next to the cliff but he's shot and he falls to the ground and dies, while in the distance there is a reflection of the rifle scope and the killer's eye. Mihajlo (35) opens the door of his house, picks his mail from the doorstep, while his wife Ivana (30) is making breakfast. Ivana who is very sad and anxious says to Mihajlo that last night their daughter wasn’t feeling well and that her therapy isn't helping. Mihajlo walks into the room of the sick girl, who is scared because she has to go to hospital. He tries to cheer her up, but nothing helps. Then, he goes to his work angry, while Ivana is asking him, doubtfully, where he had found the money for the treatment. In his office, he opens one of the letters he got that morning. In the letter there is a code which he types on his computer, searching the map. Then he goes on the dock, where the speedboat appears and it takes him to a luxury yacht. There, Mihajlo talks to Tony (50) the gangster, who gives him the envelope with the photos and the money. However, Mihajlo who is disappointed by the small amount of the money accepts the offer. He comes home, where he finds Ivana very sad and discouraged because their daughter's therapy must be replaced with the new one which is more expensive. Mihajlo promises that he will get the money, but that sentence makes Ivana even more upset. In his study, he opens another letter with the code message which he types on his computer and searches the map.
In the parking garage a luxury limo shows up. Mihajlo approaches, while the window of the limo opens and Oleg (55) shows up. It is the same man whose face is at the photo which Tony gave to Mihajlo.
Mihajlo walks into the car, surprised, because Oleg invited him in. Oleg offers him a large amount of money to kill Tony. Mihajlo tries to avoid the situation in many ways, but he realises that, actually, he has no choice, so he takes the money and goes away. In his study, Mihajlo is very confused. He looks at the photos of Oleg and Tony without a clue of what he should do. While he goes through the stuff on the table, he accidentally drops the glass of water which stands on a tray with a mirror. He sees his image in the mirror and he has a vision of blood over his face. It makes him very scared and worried. The little girl lies on the bed in a hospital room, while Ivana is standing on the door looking at her. She is worried and crying. Mihajlo approaches to her and he is speaking something. Ivana hugs him with joy, but she notices that there is something wrong with him. He walks away and Ivana observes him, scared and worried. Mihajlo climbs on a tower with the riffle, while Tony is walking on a ship deck, from where the tower could be seen with the scope. Mihajlo aims and hits Tony and he falls dead into the water. Oleg sits by his pool surrounded by bodyguards and is looking at pretty girls, while Mihajlo is walking through the wrecked house at the top of the hill, setting his riffle. Oleg raises the glass of wine but it breaks while the bodyguards become spattered by his blood. Mihajlo puts down the riffle, satisfied and he lights a cigarette while the tower with the reflection is standing behind him.

Plot summary:

At first, Mihajlo appears to be an average business man who lives with his wife Ivana and their sick daughter. In his own misery, Mihajlo tries to earn money which is necessary for the expensive therapies and he is obliged to work as a hired killer. Ivana has no clue about the way in which he makes money. With the help of the code messages he gets in touch with Tony, the gangster, for whom he kills for. Tony offers him a task to kill the man from the picture he gave him. Mihajlo forced by his terrible family situation accepts unwillingly the job because of the large amount of money. Ivana finds out that their daughter needs even more expensive therapy and that makes their situation worse. Mihajlo believes that he has the solution which he keeps as a secret and basically that’s the final plot. The culmination comes after the turn of events in which Mihjalo is exposed by Oleg, the man which he was supposed to kill and who offers him even bigger amount of money to kill Tony. Mihajlo is totally upset. He finds himself in a situation where he can’t get out and doesn’t know what to do.
He comes in the hospital where his little daughter lies. He says goodbye to Ivana and then walks away. By taking the money from both gangsters, first, he kills Tony, and then Oleg; even though he knows that probably the same thing will happen to him.
The final episode of Mihajlo’s life reveals some of the possible motives that force people to do this kind of work and become paid killers. This presents a protagonist as an antihero, who, on one hand, has the justified motive, while on the other hand he does the useful thing for society and community by cleaning it from gangsters and notorious criminals.
But no matter how the aim is justified or the final result is, as a matter of fact, positive, once you become the part of that circle, there is no way out. The protagonist is aware of that fact.

The main conflict:

The aim of the protagonist, Mihajlo is to earn enough money for his child’s treatment, by earning the extra money as paid killer. His goal is to cure his child and stop with the dirty business. On the opposite, there are the employers (Tony and Oleg) who hired him for murders he has to commit, or otherwise, he could only expect worse for him and his family.
The antagonist Tony is the first employer who hires Mihajlo to kill Oleg, the other antagonist. Mihajlo will soon find himself in dilemma between the two of them, because he realized that the task which Tony gave him is revealed. Tony and Oleg's goal is to eliminate each other, as soon as possible, because of the unsolved conflicts but they want to keep their heads above the water.
The supporting character is Ivana, Mihajlo's wife and the mother of his child, who has a very strong dramatic role in his next move. Her goal is for her daughter to get well and to bring back her family's life to normal.
The little girl is, also, one of the supporting characters with a very important role. She expresses her purity, innocence and vulnerability as an exception from the filthy world of the grownups by motivating the protagonist to keep up to his goal.

Characters and personalities:

Mihajlo (Pavle Ilić) was born in the family of the municipal officials. They both made an effort by raising him to be an intellectual and to finish his education with PhD. However, the crises and the age of war have drawn Mihajlo further from his parents plan. He spent one year on the front, where he'd realised he's a good marksman (specialty: sniper). There, he was noticed by some people from the criminal world who offered him to work for them when the war ends. By rejecting the offer, Mihajlo returns to his home town where he managed to find a job and to work as the real-estate agent. With the help of some successful business deals, he falls in love and then marrying Ivana, with whom he had a daughter. The great crisis where there isn’t enough interest for real-estate soon arrives and his daughter gets very ill. In his own despair to earn money for his daughter's treatment, he gets in touch with his old criminal acquaintances and he starts to accept their offers unconditionally. Internal code- He doesn’t suspect in his wife’s love and he's entirely dedicated to save his child and marriage. With Tony and Oleg he acts according to the rules of the dirty business, but with a very small amount of thrust. He’s always careful and he keeps his distance. External code- He is determined, precise, reserved, discrete and in certain situation very emotional. He's the sort of a cold person with phlegmatic temper. His personal tag is to tap the table with his fingers.

Ivana (Ornela Vištica) Mihajlo’s wife grew up in a conservative family where she was raised to be a loyal and a faithful wife, one day. From the first moment she saw Mihajlo, she knew that he was the love of her life. Her entire joy was destroyed by her child’s illness, and after that she started to lose her trust in Mihajlo, for the first time. Internal code- She began to doubt Mihajlo because she doesn’t know where he had got the money and she knows that it’s not earned from his real-estate business. She feels that something is wrong with him. External code- She is devoted, concerned, sensitive, caring, skeptical and intuitive with the sanguine temper. Her personal TAG is to cover her face with her hands.

The little girl (Ana Kovač) is Mihajlo and Ivana’s daughter, who lived a happy and carefree childhood until she got ill. Since that moment she usually lies in her bed and changes hospitals of which she’s afraid of. Internal code – She adores her father and doesn’t hide anything from him. She also loves her mother, but she hates the fact that she is taking her to various hospitals. External code- She is scared but brave and yet troubled with her illness. Her personal TAG is to hug her favourite doll.

Tony (Branimir Popović) is a notorious criminal and the leader of the group of paid killers who doesn’t know anything about each other. He worked abroad for a long time. There he changed his name and got to know the leaders of various criminal groups. He had lost 500.000 Euros because of the fraud of which, according to him, Oleg, the leader of one of the rival gangs, is responsible. In his malice, he hires the cheapest killers or the people who haven’t got much of a choice. For that reason he picks Mihajlo, knowing that he’s got a sick child and that he’s not going to refuse his offer. Internal code- He’s extremely attentive. He’s living on a luxury yacht hides his true identity. External code- He is careful, phlegmatic, arrogant, pretentious, determined, and unpredictable with a sanguine temper. His personal tag is to play video games and to smoke a Cuban cigar.

Oleg (Predrag Bijelac), is also a notorious criminal who is the leader of the bigger criminal group. He has entered the world of crime as a minor and he is in that world for 40 years, knowing every possible secret of all sorts of criminal. He’s known by his cruelty and corruption. He’s conscious of all his actions even before they happen, and with that strategy, he knows all about Tony’s wicked plan. He had also found out everything about the hired killer who works for Tony and how much he pays him. He knows exactly how to motivate Mihajlo against Tony. Internal code- He's the mysterious man who was rarely seen by anyone, but if someone sees him it is the first and the last time. He rarely does business with people he doesn’t know, but by finding out Mihajlo’s situation and history he had decided to pay him more and get him to work for him, after he kills Tony. He’s sure about his absolute power over the other criminal groups, so he wants to increase his private army. Internal code- He’s sure of his villain philosophy which he upgraded to a higher level. He knows that the key lies in the strategy and the previously planned moves, which are providing him the new information in the underworld he’s after with obsession. External code – He is cold- blooded, cruel, persistent, determined and balanced with a phlegmatic temper. His personal TAG is to push his hair back and to stare into the distance, thinking.

The dramatic structure:

The first dramatic moment is when Mihajlo accepts Tony's offer to kill Oleg. After, there is a turn of events when Mihajlo realises he is exposed by Oleg. The culmination was reached at the moment when Mihalo finds himself between the decision to disregard his principles or to stay in accordance to them by questioning his own life and the life of his family. The turn of events after the climax is the murder of the both employers - Tony and Oleg. The last dramatic moment is the moment when Mihajlo realises that he’s the next one.
The characters, the actions and the territory, belong to something which, unfortunately, could often be detected, not just in this region, but all around where the thing called “the underworld” exists and that’s the thing that makes this film authentic.
The way in which the protagonist, as an antihero evolved to a man, who, because of the affection he has for his daughter had disregarded all his principles by realising he could save his own world and save his child, gives a completely new dimension to the issue and throws back all the moral beliefs.
The interesting thing is revealed in the main question of the film, and it goes like this- is it really matter if the man, who finds himself in the situation where he cannot get out, will bring the right or the wrong decision, or, in fact is any decision actually right?
The way that criminal groups are working regarding to a „Blackmail“ and revenge principles is something that exists in all over the world and it is impossible to eliminate. Once you enter the filthy world of crime there is, usually, no way out.
The only way out is by „retiring“ , or more precisely, by murder of the person that wants to get out. What makes this film constant is the accurate problem or phenomena of how the criminal groups act in humanity during the ages.

Time and actuality:

The time in which the action of this film is happening is present day. We are everyday’s witnesses of the filthy criminal acts, or vicious murders which often happen in our region. We are also the witnesses of the expansion of crime which is the reflection of the people who are not happy with their existence. However, it’s the critics of the system, which ruins all the ethic codes in order to earn money, which is obviously, the solution to all the problems and that is what makes this film significant not just in this country, but in regional and a global spheres.

Scenography, costumes and design:

The protagonist is the man who doesn’t like to appear very much in public. He lives with his family in a wooden house in the forest. The house has the typical enterer which the middle class could afford. On the other hand, the luxury wooden yacht and a car are the things which collide with the rich criminals and their personality.
The casual clothes are in almost every scene of the movie, except for the scene where the protagonist goes to work in a suit, where the dress code is necessary.

The style and the genre of the film:

There are two different rhythms in a movie, a faster and a slower one, which are requiring a faster and a slower montage, so that some of the elements, for example, the warmth and peace in the family and the thriller scenes of murder could be expressed. There is an animation in one part of the movie, which emphasises a turning point of it, by combining an image of the protagonist with grey cloud and preparing for the final or the further cycle of events.

The film is treating the question of the protagonist’s identity and also the other characters, in a certain way. One of its features is also a language, more precisely, the dialect and the accent which is different and is connected to Montenegrin, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian language. The variety of languages indicates the question of identity, but likewise, it refers to the fact that nobody in this region is protected from crime.

The combination of warmer and colder shades of color on the terms of a dramatic structure and the rhythm, changes with the music which indicates and makes the atmosphere of the particular thriller genre.