Review: Attack On Leningrad

Director: Aleksandr Buravsky
Screenplay: Aleksandr Buravsky & Chris Solimine
Producers: Aleksandr Buravsky, Chris Curling, Peter Doyle, David Gamburg & Andre Gromkovski
Starring: Mira Sorvino, Gabriel Byrne, Aleksandr Abdulov, Vladimir Ilyin, Olga Sutulova, Armin Mueller-Stahl
Year: 2007
Country: Russia/UK
BBFC Certification: 15
Duration: 110 min






OK, so I sit down ready to watch a review copy of a film I was kindly sent the other day, Attack on Leningrad (A.K.A. Leningrad). Let’s do a bit of research first though I think. Well, it stars Oscar Winner Mira Sorvino, Miller’s Crossing and Usual Suspects star Gabriel Byrne and faithful old Armin Mueller-Stahl โ€“ nice line up. Interesting subject matter too, I don’t know much about the siege at Leningrad myself, should be thought-provoking.

Let’s just have a peak at some other reviews though before I start… huh, none at all. Surely it’s hit the festivals if it didn’t get a proper cinema release… hmmm, not really. Straight to DVD then, OK, let’s give it a chance. Hang on, made in 2007, yet no one’s seen or released it yet. Alarm bells ringing, but I’m not a snob, let’s do these struggling filmmakers a favour, let’s put it on.

Oh dear.

Attack on Leningrad is a really bad film. It tells the story of Kate Davis (Sorvino), a British journalist stationed in Leningrad, who gets caught up in the infamous siege during World War II. She is forced into hiding and attempts to survive capture and starvation with the help of Nina (Olga Sutulova) and the family she lives with. Meanwhile, Kate’s boyfriend and fellow journalist Phillip Parker (Byrne) believes she is dead and heads back home to pass on the news to her family, where he uncovers more information on her past. This is a minor diversion though and Byrne actually registers little screentime, despite top billing on most of the film’s advertising. We are also occasionally taken into the corridors of power as Hitler and his cronies mastermind the siege, including Von Leeb (Mueller Stahl), who also does little to justify his DVD cover status.



I had no major problems with the story, the subject matter is obviously powerful; one and a half million people died during the two and a half year siege, mainly of starvation. Unfortunately though, it is handled abysmally. The main problem is the acting. Frequently shoddy ADR and a director who clearly has a poor grasp of English result in an embarrassing display of clunky deliveries and cringeworthy ’emotional’ moments, especially those featuring a child prodigy suffering from severe dystrophy. Much of the film is in Russian and some of the native actors seem to be doing an OK job although it’s always more difficult to say when I don’t speak the language. The film’s lynchpin, Mira Sorvino is struggling here though. Her performance is pretty half-hearted and she stumbles through an English accent, although you sense that there was a large communication barrier between the English cast and the director. I might be wrong, but that’s all I can presume is the reason for such a poor use of stars that are capable of much better things.

On the surface it looks promising, the production design is impressive enough and it’s quite well shot. The opening scene is even pretty good if a little overwrought, where we witness the final stand between the Germans and the remaining Russian forces surrounding the city. Unfortunately, the glossy visuals and the Hollywood cast rub shoulders with dialogue, special effects and OTT music straight out of a cheap TV movie. In fact, some comments on IMDB suggest that this could be a trimmed down version of a Russian TV miniseries. A few plot strands feel too brief too, which back up this theory. TV roots are no excuse for poor quality though, as some of the outstanding work coming from the HBO stables will prove.



It’s a painful experience to watch. I don’t mind a bit of cheesy acting and naff dialogue if a film has fun with it, but when the subject matter demands that it takes itself seriously, everything just falls apart. In a film where children starve to death and people cut off the flesh from bodies in the street just to survive, you feel nothing because the scenes are so bluntly handled and hammily performed.

I could go on, but I don’t think it’s worth it. This is the sort of film that is best forgotten. It had a lot going for it. OK, so Mira Sorvino and Gabriel Byrne don’t have spotless CV’s, but they’ve got talent and the production team clearly know how to dress and shoot a film. Unfortunately, any potential the film had is flushed down the toilet on a wave of half-arsed filmmaking and embarrassingly bad performances.

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rickster
Guest

knowing the history behind it, spotting obvious inaccuracies… it is still such a powerful and tragic story that had me wiping away the tears and feeling so terribly heartsore for the suffering of 1.5million people. I didnt stop to wonder or think the acting was rubbish. The message it set out to convey – was received. Without criticism. And for those who don't know much about the seige, they have been astounded, shocked, horrified to learn about a piece of history to which they were previously ignorant about.Nobody mentioned the lack of acting 'skill'.

David Brook
Guest

You can't review a film on the strength of it's source material though. Yes it was an horrific event, but it's not like this film uncovered the facts, they're quite well known these days and I imagine there are several other films and documentaries that better handle them.

aalleexx
Guest

David, I`ve seen the film and I liked it very much. First 5 minutes of it were very boring, only for me I hope, but after that, I just couldn`t stop watching it ! This film is very good in my opinion, yes could have been better but it`s also ok the way it is. The story, the actors, are ok in my point of view. They acted just like in real life, it`s nothing bad in this !

Fred
Guest

Glad I didn't come here first or we'd have missed a really good film. OK the production was more 'made for TV' than Spielberg – but so what – it was a genuinely engaging and rewarding watch – based on an individual's true story that was certainly worth telling.

Won't be bookmarking this site.

David Brook
Guest

Wow, I must have been watching a different movie, because I thought this was one of the cheesiest, most embarassingly badly acted films I've seen in a long time. Why do you guys think a film with some reasonably well known stars like this took 3 years after completion to get released and then went straight to DVD?

Jonathan
Admin

Fred apparently only likes reviews that coincide with his opinion. But just because a story is worth telling doesn't mean that it will translate to a good film. I'd read the history book instead. If it's a serious flim with hammy performances, that is something very difficult to overlook, unless it is doing something completely cutting edge and original otherwise to be in awe over.

Robin West
Guest

What a moron. Get another job and give away writing your opinions on films. You haven 't got a clue.

Robin West.

Andrew James
Admin

Robin, write something more substantial please. Why is the reviewer a moron? The review tackles several aspects of the film and dissects them properly. How about an opinion rather than a cowardly cheap shot. Oh right, you probably have no idea how to put together a grammatically correct paragraph on anything. There are services for people like you.

rot
Guest

what is it about David that brings out the blind ragers? ๐Ÿ™‚

David Brook
Guest

It's just this one film that people keep going back to. Obviously some people think that glossy photography and serious subject matter makes a film good and things like acting and writing aren't important.

Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but anyone who thinks this is good seriously needs to get out more.

rot
Guest

its been getting a lot of hits, I think someone must have posted it on an Aleksandr Buravsky's fan forum or something.

David Brook
Guest

Yeah, my blog's link page to this review is one of my most popular pages too. It's odd for such an obscure, straight to DVD release. I guess hardly anyone else seems to have reviewed it so anyone interested gets through to my review very easily.

Andrew James
Admin

A bunch of savages in this town.
Or a group of friggin fan boys that'll follow whoever or whatever blindly without admitting they actually hate thing – and/or can give no intelligent reason as to why it's good. Just a slight against the author of the review. I'll take your word for it over any of these clowns.

Chris
Guest

I was staggered at just how appalling the acting is in this movie. As the blogger suggests, no wonder it went straight to DVD. Having read the superb Antony Beevor book detailing the attack on another Russian city, Stalingrad, I was hoping for a fine cinematic recreation of events in respect of the attack on Leningrad albeit intertwined with the heroic deeds of British journalist, Kate Davis. Sadly, it really is atrocious.

Mike
Guest

I think it depends on which eye you look at the movie. As a history lover (found of WWII) I can notice many historical "clips" of the siege, like the sugar bomb, eating glue, cannibalism, the Ladoga survival trail and more but for someone wishing to learn about Leningrad, it's too fast and we can't learn enough; the story is focus on Kate Davis, and even there, it still uses "clips" on the true stuggling of starvation like if they were afraid to show more, so this gives an impression of a TV series and an uncompleted work.

The acting isn't that bad, some quite good, but I fully agree with David that the director has underused the full potential of his talented crew. It could have been much better.

But if you look with the eye of the human drama and forget the cinematography, history, quick details, and embrasse Davis' combat to keep those she cared about and her sacrifice knowing it is based on a true story, then you can be touched.

Maybe it's that part that pushed the producers to make at least a DVD, despite a poorer cinematography.

For my part I stayed on my appetite as a movie but was glad to know the story of Kate Davis.

David Brook
Guest

Thanks for the more detailed comments Mike, rather than the fan-boy insults that have come in the past. However, I want to try and clear this up once and for all. Watch the scene below starting at 0.40 with the young boy and Mira Sorvino. Here is proof of some of the shoddy performances I'm talking about. Yes the film looks pretty, the subject matter is powerful and granted, most of the native cast do a fairly decent job, but anyone speaking English is embarrassing and that kid grates on me so much it's untrue. Those of you who I think I'm being harsh on a child performance should bear in mind that he's in a hell of a lot of the film.

David Brook
Guest

Sorry, the embedding didn't work – here's the address. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YxX45e5N_0

trackback

[…] 15 Duration: 100 min I had my doubts about this one, the warning signs from the shoddy Attack on Leningrad were all there โ€“ a well known and respectable cast yet no nationwide cinema release and little […]

ryan cone
Guest

David , you should be open to criticism also. I appreciated very much some of your critical point of view . There must have been a major reason for a movie with such a subject matter to go to DVD. You might have hit the nail in some aspects missed a few as well .

Because , compared with movies with very stupid subject matters which raise tens of millions of dollars in the US , it is regretful that such a movie received little to none consideration. But then again ..it is the US where people know very little about world history , and where the main focus is on Grand productions and millions spent on effects and other things.

Put it in its historical context , there are some missing links here and their …. and in the movie we don't really get what happened to Mira Sorvino.

David Brook
Guest

I'm perfectly open to criticism, my negative replies are only aimed at idiotic comments like Robin West's where no attempt is made to qualify their statements. If you like the film, good on you, but I'll only show interest if you give me a decent reason. Mike for instance made some interesting comments.

I've got nothing against straight to DVD titles either and I understand it's generally a budget issue, but this film clearly had a fair bit of money as it's got some reasonable stars in it and looks expensive.

I do get surprised that people so passionately disagree with me on this film as I really disliked it, but each to their own I guess.

Now can people please let it lie!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Jonathan
Admin

I have never witnessed a review on here have so many trolls. It almost seems as if they all worked or had friends and family who worked on the production of this and we personally insulted them with this review.

Also, Ryan Cone, who goes on rambling nonsense about the US, must not realize that the reviewer of this is from the UK.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Not to mention that half the writers on this site are Canadian!

David Brook
Guest

I don't think he was necessarily talking about the critics being from the US, just the fact that it wasn't given a proper release in the US. Although of course I was reviewing a UK DVD release, so I've no idea what sort of treatment it got in the US. In fact looking at Ryan Cone's comments, he's not being that antagonistic, it's just the opening sentence that gives that impression.

And one final quote in my defense on any more haters claiming I don't care about the history, don't understand the context etc, read the damn review properly:

"I had no major problems with the story, the subject matter is obviously powerful; one and a half million people died during the two and a half year siege, mainly of starvation. Unfortunately though, it is handled abysmally."

Siew
Guest

Of course, one can dissect a movie by criticising the acting, scripting, editing, etc. separately, but shouldn't the most important factor be the overall experience of watching the film? Whether one is touched by the story-teller, whether one gets transported into the world of the movie… To be honest, I wouldn't say the acting is fantastic nor the editing great, but I was genuinely moved, and the movie's been haunting me since I watched it. That's what I call an impactful movie!

David Brook
Guest

Absolutely, yes the overriding factor is the overall experience, but for me the elements I criticized the film for spoiled that experience. I'm afraid I didn't find the film moving or haunting as you did, largely because I felt it was handled poorly. If I was watching a trashy action movie and the acting and script was ropey I would easily forgive it, but for a serious and powerful story like this one you need to really deliver the goods to pull it off. That's just my opinion though of course.

Thanks for the comments though, they're much more eloquent than in some of the previous posts and I don't wish to disregard your view of the film. Unfortunately, Attack On Leningrad was not for me. If it moved you to such a degree though, who am I to argue against that.

Jonathan
Guest

"Absolutely, yes the overriding factor is the overall experience, but for me the elements I criticized the film for spoiled that experience."

LOL. For real – what is so hard to understand here for these people? Never have I witnessed such bizarre backlash to one of R3's reviews – almost as if it is the director of the film himself coming on every once in a while under a different name to defend his own movie.

Joe
Guest

After seeing the Russian politico about to shoot her fellow country men in the opening sequences, I lost all interest in who won or lost. I mean if this is what they are defending, who cares if the germans take over the city. You need a to create a little empathy with the main character.

Mark
Guest

Awful – I wished that I had the reviews before buying the dvd. Why did they bother making such an abysmal film?

David Brook
Guest

Someone who agrees with me! Praise the lord!

rot
Guest

could be spam ๐Ÿ™‚

Kevin Y.
Guest

I thought it was great honestly. The acting was as if they were starving to death, so that was OK with me. I liked the boy too, I didn't notice anything terrible about his acting, but it doesn't really matter. Sorry you didn't like it man, I think its one of those films that just are not for everyone honestly, I wouldn't recommend it to any of my friends… cause they would just laugh at me. but ohwell ๐Ÿ˜›

John Buckley
Guest

Agree 100% with the reviewer. The film lacked continuity, scenes were disjointed, there was a weird contrast between the violent drama of the action scenes and the woodenness of the people scenes. I have read a lot about the war on the Eastern front and spoken to many who fought there, and felt it deserved better treatment than this. More information could have been built into the film to give the viewer more history, for example, maps and troop strengths, but so many opportunities were missed. A woeful effort.

John McLeod
Guest

Agree with your comments. I have been trying to pinpoint some of the events in the firm, e.g. the apparent transport (for approved persons) from St Petersburg to ???. If it was from St Petersburg to Moscow, there was a problem of passing through Nazi occupied territory. If it was via Finland, this would be impossible, as Finland was allied to the Axis. And if American diplomatic privilege was involved, all the action would have had to take place between August and December, when Pearl Harbor brought the Americans into the war.
I was around at the time, more personally involve with the Nazi blitz on the UK.

Hideki Kishida
Guest

I didn’t like the movie (I had a feeling it was half baked) but I would disagree with “Joe”-if you would have remembered some history of WW2 you would have realize that Nina’s actions in the opening sequence were nothing but an act of desperate humanity (sort of like the kamikaze ). That is if Leningrad were taken by the Nazi much more civilians would die and suffer.(after all “Operation Barbarossa” was only the means for setting a so called “New Order” .To do this Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, was assigned to implement the enslavement, expulsion, and extermination of Slavic population).
P.S. sorry – my english is still not good

agentofchaos
Guest

i agree with what david said it being half baked although film was not the best, it wasn’t the worst either
there are alot of good this about it, it had potential
for me it really got the look and the feel of leningrad during that time. The biggest problem i had with it only problem i have with it was MIRA SOVINO’S ACTING! ITS JUST HORRIBLE ACCOMPANIED BY HER RIDICULOUS, OBVIOUS ENGLISH ACCENT! You just cant feel her characters desperation

i would say though that i thought olga sutulova(nina) WAS GREAT! She is actually the character that connects the viewer to the feeling of the people in leningrad during that difficult time. Olga was just excellent which surprised me that she was in a film called the arena, some low budget rated r flick.

any info on olga sutulova would be greatly appreciated imdb doesnt have much on her just her birthday tnx

agentofchaos
Guest

I agree with what david said it being half baked although film was not the best, it wasnโ€™t the worst either
there are alot of good this about it, it had potential
for me it really got the look and the feel of leningrad during that time. The biggest problem i had with it only problem i have with it was MIRA SOVINOโ€™S ACTING! ITS JUST HORRIBLE ACCOMPANIED BY HER RIDICULOUS, OBVIOUS FAKE ENGLISH ACCENT! You just cant feel her characters desperation

i would say though that i thought olga sutulova(nina) WAS GREAT! She is actually the character that connects the viewer to the feeling of the people in leningrad during that difficult time. Olga was just excellent which surprised me that she was in a film called the arena, some low budget rated r flick.

any info on olga sutulova would be greatly appreciated imdb doesnt have much on her just her birthday tnx

Ms Curious
Guest

Don’t consider myself a film critic, but here’s my two cents for what it’s worth. Great subject, great research but poor acting. Abissmally poor actually and the film sucks!

The subject deserved a better delivery. Perhaps a bigger budget would have enabled such. Ultimate verdict: Trash action just doesn’t tick my box.

Charles Lewis
Guest

Warning: spoiler:
Just seen this film at home on DVD. It really wasn’t that bad — bit of a curate’s egg — but I reckon I got my few quid’s worth out of it (ยฃ6 in fact — purchase price). I think those who criticise Sorvino’s accent are not English. Believe me, it was good (whatever you think of her acting). The coda was ridiculous — Kate dies of hunger in 1943 after deciding not to escape but to go back and give her food ration to the boy with polio; he then appears completely cured and frightfully happy at a reunion in 1965. Daft! Incidentally I thought the Russian girl (the cop) was great — powerful actress. Very good point made by one reviewer: Kate has been obsessing for years about returning to her Russian roots (though as far as I can see she was never there before, being born and brought up in Switzerland,her father being a defeated White Russian general — but despite her obsession she has never learned a word of Russian!

Pepijn Boumans
Guest

I just finished watched the movie. I somehow felt like looking up some reviews, because I liked it so much. I shouldn’t have. I really should not have done that I guess. Did you all really hate the acting so much?

I watched the movie without checking out a review first and I was rather moved. Especially by the little scenes, like the (spoilers) radio announcer that dies at work, or the old man that cannot get of the bench anymore and warns others not to sit for too long. I think the actors (all of them) could play the part of starving people very well. They were all very lovable characters in their own way.

The story had a few major holes, I’ll give you that, but apart from that I’m not giving in. This was a great movie. If you haven’t seen it, you should. And have great expectations, the movie deserves it. Just the 2 cents of a very poorly English speaking Dutchman ;p

andrei
Guest

A couple of points

This was an eight hour TV series cut into a feature film – It recalls a great trauma – The Great Patriotic War (WW2) was far more traumatic event for Russians than it was Americans.

Maybe Americans have been spoiled by Steven Spielberg but to me he seems to have more style than substance whereas for all its faults in this shortened form this movie does have a great deal of substance

Dennis
Guest

I was born in Leningrad and have several grandparents who experienced this seige. I was dissappointed that the excellent actors who were in this movie, including several Russian actors, were not given a chance to fully shine in their roles. This movie could have been great for the depiction of this event but failed as the director does not appear to want to make this a great work.

Roger
Guest

In my opinion the film is worth watching, though it is true that you can find now and then the usual flaws of international productions. It seems to me that they have changed the script to fit the international cast in it. Nonetheless, the dramatism and the hardships od life in Leningrad are accurately portrayed. I don’t find the story of the children cheesy at all if you think that 1’5 million people died there (though it was a bit of a cliche that the kid was a chess master…)

diane wyder
Guest

This was a FANTASTIC movie with great cinematography and GREAT acting. A story about suffering humanity and SACRIFICIAL love,finding deep humanity/love in one self…..as opposed to the triumph of carnal love…which apparently so many of you seem to prefer…how about they go hand in hand? yes: love hurts, humanity hurts and it IS beautiful to get a chance to be called to the ultimate giving….and were you maybe disappointed that the two female leads weren’t “portrayed” as lesbians, after all they danced together and looked beautiful together…? NO! just plain strong beautiful sacrificing loving women, human beings…
boring you say? shallow you say?
Grow up!
sincerely, diane wyder

Jonathan
Guest

I’ve never witnessed a post get so many random comments. I’ve wondered if many of these folks leaving comments are people who are related to this film in some way (worked on it, knew somebody who did, etc.). It brings some very, very strange responses.

JujuKkkk
Guest

Good movie. Just like it.

SHA
Guest

This film was an atrocity. Anyone who says otherwise is a flat out liar and a fraud.

I found this movie on Netflix and had no preconceived notions other than the expectation that it was an actual movie. This is not a movie. It is a hodgepodge of scenes of which 60% were intended to be in the final cut, 40% were intended to be left on the editing room floor, and all of which were arranged in no particular order.

The plot tries to present the story of Kate, a British journalist who is inadvertently trapped in Leningrad during the infamous seige of World War II. Ideally, the film would be about the atrocities of war, the will of the human spirit, and the connections forged between people who face life-threatening adversity. But this is not at all what happens. Weaving and interrupting Kate’s tale of struggle is a bunch of two minute side stories that leave the overall pace of the movie alternating between extremely pedantic and choppy.

There is no singular narrative in the film. You know that Kate is trapped, and she needs to get out in order to survive. But that’s so incredibly easy to forget as the director includes so many sub-plots, and random side plots, that the whole movie starts to lose coherence.

Kate is played extremely poorly by Mira Sorvino. That, combined with the lack of substantive narrative, leaves her character extremely uni-dimensional, flat, and makes any connection with the audience almost impossible. To be honest, I just watched the movie, and I can’t remember the names of any the rest of the characters. Oh, wait, there is Kate’s former boyfriend and still concerned fellow journalist, Peter, played by Gabriel Bryne. Again, the movie makes every character extremely easy to forget.

The production value is surprisingly good, but that is where any praise for the movie begins and ends. Of particular complain-worthiness is the audio and sound editing; both are extremely jarring and disjointed. The best I can compare it to is Bollywood.

To make it worse, there are times when the audio is normal, so to intersperse that with moments where entire outdoor scenes sound like they’re shot in a tiny 1940’s style studio is just a waste of time and further serves to alienate viewers by reminding them that they are watching and exceptionally bad movie.

There are so many things wrong with this film that it’s hard to write a coherent review. The movie was bad, and anyone who says otherwise should feel bad.

2/10. Would not watch again.

Betty Murphy
Guest

If it is based on a “true story,” it’s a story worth telling, but this film chops it up in too many short clips. The plot ends up seeming highly improbable. Nina’s motivation for saving Kate is never made clear. The film is definitely lacking in continuity. I agree that Olga Sutulova gave a stand-out performance, while Mira Sorvino seemed out of her depth. Trying to tell the personal story within the context of the war seemed to be too much for the director to handle. Even so, this film adds to an understanding of what the people of Leningrad endured. The image that will stay with me is of people slowly pulling sleds holding the wrapped bodies of their dead.

Federico Durand
Guest

The thread that never dies, right David? I read these comments before watching the movie and my expectations were pretty low. I think the problem with this film is that its rich visually with a director of photography who has talent, but everything underneath it reminds me of a cheap made for TV movie. The profound subject matter adds some credibility to ones overall viewing experience but it in the end the visuals and the historical importance can’t rescue it. It didn’t work on so many levels except for the cinematography.

ะ ัƒััะบะธะน
Guest
ะ ัƒััะบะธะน

Attack on Leningrad is a really bad film. Where is Spider-man?

John D
Guest

Amazing … I watched this film streamed on Netflix last night. This series of comments has gone on for 3 years. Amazing.

David – I can understand and agree with much of what I think you’re saying – hammy acting by the kid – sort of trite scenes like when the policewoman puts on lipstick and asks the guy to kiss her hoping to experience the rather remarkable description from the blonde about making love with the one you love (which by the way I thought was a very risky, potentially cloying scene but that nonetheless I thought rather poetic).

But – I found some of the scenes of the policewoman hugely powerful. That scene where she disrupts the 2 guys doing whatever bad thing they were doing and chases them outside – shoots one in the back – pursues the other guy to the top of the building – gets huge whacks – keeps going -doesn’t give up – then relents to give mercy just to have the guy try to stab her – she is the champion athlete who has committed her life to her people – her huge heart and absolute unwillingness to give up – to give in – – – the fierce warrior who finishes what that guy started …….. I thought that was a hugely powerful scene.

Not the violence of it. The indomitable human spirit of it. The demand that – by God – we will try to live life with a heart but there are lines you don’t cross.

There were moments of that in this film.

So – I can see your point – but I still found that movie – as a whole – inspiring.

I even really liked the last scene of the two beautiful young women dancing in gay abandonment and joy at the defeat of the Devil and the deliverance of their people.

De gustibus non est disputandum.

John D

Jakester
Guest

The two guys she chased and killed just robbed & murdered her mother and her boss

johnbleroy
Guest

I am truly amazed, David, that with the exception of one person who plays her cards closely, no one seems to recognize that this a lesbian movie and quite deliberately so. The love story is charming, though hidden by the director because out-of-the-closet gayness is not big in nationalist Russia any more than it was in Soviet Russia. Olga Sutulova signals who she is in every moment she’s on the screen. We catch a big hint when a fellow Leningrad cop accuses her of having a girlfriend and she has to quickly cover up and act seductive, but she does it so stiffly. Yes, this is a very grim subject matter, the starvation of a city, but even that can be read as a parable. I respectful suggest that you and all of your reviewers in this thread that will not die just don’t have a clue and need to watch it again. Sutulova is more than brilliant, as is the director.

graham chalk
Guest

ok, this may not be the bestest movie in the history of the motion picture, but having finally watched it (put off by the reviews after purchasing a copy from the ยฃshop)..I thought it was pretty good.
I’m a student of WW2 and of the Russian experience. I think this made a pretty good stab at portraying this.
It isn’t exactly propaganda-even showing cannabalism- they even had to change their morals for the duration: only eating people who you had killed yourself was forbidden. Those already dead were fair game.
How many of American/British war films show this kind of stuff about their own side?
I think the Russian experience of that war still influences their foreign policies today, so it’s not irrelevant. We were not invaded. What would it have been like for us if it had been different?
There are far worse WW2 movies than this. Inglorious Bastards anyone? Everyone LOVED that steaming pile of poo ๐Ÿ˜‰
and yes. I agree. a very unconventional tender (lesbian) love story. We never got that from A Bridge Too Far…

Mim
Guest

*Keeping the thread alive*
I woke up in the middle of the night and this movie was playing on netflix. I missed some of the film and the sound was muted but I have to say I liked the film. I thought it touched on the lives of people during a tragic time of war (the images of the people dragging the wrapped up bodies – chilling) and yes, I took it as a love story with Katie choosing to return to Leningrad with Nina. The relationship confirmed by the scenes of them celebrating the end of the conflict and Parker visiting their side-by-side graves at the end.

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