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The Soviet army breaks through the Finnish defences on the Karelian Isthmus in June 1944, advancing with overwhelming force. Somehow, the Finnish troops must find the strength to fight back, with all odds against them. The Battle of Tali-Ihantala was the largest battle ever fought in the history of the Nordic countries. This film depicts the true events through five separate stories. Written by
Carl XVI Gustaf, the King of Sweden, awarded The Order of the Polar Star for director Åke Lindman, screenwriter Stefan Forss and Jyrki Hägglund, who was a treasurer of the support association behind the project, in 2007. Tali-Ihantala 1944 and especially its companion film Etulinjan edessä raised the awareness of the Swedish volunteers in the Continuation War. See more »
a little too ambitious for its budget, script, and director - but worth watching for war buffs
I'm a huge fan of Finnish war movies. I went to great pains to import copies of TALVISOTA, both versions of TUNTEMATON SOTILAS, BEYOND THE FRONT LINE (a good, less-ambitious run-up to this film), and AMBUSH. Of all those, TALVISOTA is easily the best, though the 1955 version of SOTILAS is a close second. It seems to me all the others are in no way able to match TALVISOTA in terms of raw absorbing action, realism, and suspense.
TALI-IHANTALA 1944 fails dramatically to establish any sort of narrative. There are no characters and no plot beyond sticking to historic events. You'll see a 10-minute vignette such as that of a forward artillery observer who gets wounded. When the Russians overwhelm his position, he runs off into the forest and the film never mentions him again! He's not the only one - this happens to every character! There is no closure or any attention given to anybody.
The action scenes are plentiful and often exciting but feel sloppily, haphazardly staged, and often (in spite of lots of great period armor) quite cheap as well! The film even has to rely on stock footage for its portrayal of the German air assault later in the film. It makes you wonder why they even bothered including the subplot, as it adds absolutely nothing! We don't even get a sense of the damage being done or the amount of lives lost until the final shot in the film - which is just too little, too late.
I am quite happy that they managed to rig up a lot of historically accurate T-34/85s and even an extremely rare (nowadays) T-34/76. Also look for StugIII's, an ISU-152, and a KV-IS. Great stuff - too bad they didn't make better use of it. I'm a big tank/war buff and I still found myself drifting off to sleep during the battle scenes. The immediacy just isn't there - especially when there's only a couple dozen extras as soldiers (with no ammo packs or anything, mind you) when there should be thousands! Refreshingly, at least for American viewers like me who are fed up with CGI, there is very little computer-generated anything in this film. In fact, I don't think there really was any at all besides a quick flyover by a Soviet plane or two.
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