Two Russian soldiers, one battle-seasoned and the other barely into his boots and uniform, are taken prisoner by an anxious Islamic father from a remote village hoping to trade them for his captured son.
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Based upon a short story by Leo Tolstoy, two Russian soldiers, Sacha and Vania, are ambushed by Muslim rebels in the grandly forbidding Caucasus and taken prisoner. Although complete understanding never fully emerges, their bittersweet ordeal reveals the human soul of two vastly different cultures. Written by
Dawn M. Barclift
One might assume that the title refers only to the two Russian soldiers taken hostage by villagers in the Caucasus. But the Russian army has the village surrounded, so the townspeople are also prisoners. Moreover, each side is a prisoner of their own hate: the Russians can't see the villagers as humans and the villagers can't see the Russians as humans, thereby continuing the cycle of hate. Even the village elder is a prisoner of tradition: he uses a ceremonial knife for something in which he could have used a gun.
All in all, "Kavkazskiy plennik" (called "Prisoner of the Mountains" in English) is a very well done movie. Oleg Menshikov and Sergei Bodrov Jr. do very well with their roles, and the situation in Chechnya makes the movie all the more relevant.
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