During the war in Afghanistan a Soviet tank crew commanded by a tyrannical officer find themselves lost and in a struggle against a band of Mujahadeen guerrillas in the mountains. A unique look at the Soviet 'Vietnam' experience sympathetically told for both sides. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
When the film was started at Columbia Pictures, David Puttnam was head of the studio. By the time it was released, Puttnam was out and Dawn Steel was head of the studio. As a result, the film was released in a small number of theaters under the title "The Beast". See more »
Several times, crew members are seen to load obviously American HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) rounds in a Soviet tank. See more »
At the start of the film, just after the Columbia Pictures logo the following quote is given: When you're wounded an' left on Afghanistan's plains. An' the women come out to cut up your remains, Just roll to your rifle an' blow out your brains, An' go to your Gawd like a soldier. - Rudyard Kipling See more »
Compelling and absorbing depiction of human struggles...
A very enjoyable film! Reynolds captures the essence of man's struggle with right & wrong, good & evil, on several levels in this realistic depiction of the Soviet-Afghan conflict. It was both meaningful and entertaining. I gave it an 8.
The internal conflicts of the characters reflect the many ways that people reconcile and deal with their emotions and beliefs vis-à-vis the roles thrust upon them by war and duty- the soldier, the faithful, the victim, the oppressor, the revenge-seeker and the order-follower. Each main character struggles at some point with his or her decisions in the face of right and wrong, duty and morality. It is the results of these choices that guide the film to transcend the events of war, and delve into the universal questions of how and why man struggles with real and painful choices.
Although the film does prove to be quite predictable, the underlying messages are timeless and well depicted. A moving story with good character development artistically filmed and approached realistically. The brutality and violence of war is not gratuitous, and the anti-war message is delivered superbly.
I highly recommend this film to all audiences... not just war-film buffs. With the US presence in Afghanistan today, the film should serve to help understand that conflict and this one in regards to the human components that are so often overlooked.
A note regarding other user's comments: The film was subtitled. It seems that some saw it without the subtitles for some reason. If you are one of those people, you really must view it with them. Rent it. I cannot imagine truly understanding the full scope of the film without the benefit of the Afghan dialog. Also, the "Americanization" of the soviet dialog not only serves to draw parallels between that conflict and the Vietnam War, but it universalizes the struggles of war and allows the viewer to empathize on a human level- not just a political one. In our long human history, how often have these basic human conflicts occurred... particularly in times of war and oppression and injustice?
41 of 46 people found this review helpful.
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