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Tony Chiu Wai Leung,
The film is based on a true story of the 9th company during the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan in the 1980's. Young Soviet Army recruits are sent from a boot camp into the middle of the war in Afghanistan. The action is not like a boot camp at all. It is very bloody and dirty. The 9th company is defending the hill 3234. They are hopelessly calling for help. Written by
At 38, Fyodor Bondarchuk makes his directorial debut at the same age at which his father, Sergei Bondarchuk, made his own classic "Destiny of a Man". An epic in every sense of the word, 9th Company boasts a rousing soundtrack, broad camera shots, unbelievably beautiful landscapes, empathetic characters and vividly brutal action sequences.
Based on actual events that culminated on 7th January 1988 on the Djardan "3234" Heights of Afghanistan, 9th Company follows the ill-fated fortunes of a small group of young Soviet soldiers, from the trials of boot camp to their arrival in the heart of the war zone and the climactic, bloody battle that made them heroes.
The 9th Company is first and foremost a war film. Not a anti-war film, and certainly not militarist - but a genuine war film. It is not about the glories of Russian weapons, rather the glories of those who fight with them down to the last round of ammunition. Apart from the odd radio murmur from Mikhail Gorbachev, the film has cast all politics aside.
Visually, great care was taken to immerse the viewer into the world of the 9th Company. The Afghan scenes are painted in a sepia, red-brown hue, while the training camp portions of the film appear colder, with more pronounced hints of green and blue. Fyodor Bondarchuk has a fondness for using slow motion for emphasis and in this instance it is particularly effective. The props, military equipment, costumes, specially constructed Afghan village, the characters, their speech, the sound, and finally the dust - all appear authentic. Bondarchuk makes good use of a $9m budget (lavish by Russian standards) and the film features some impressive hardware including 30 T-64-B tanks, 10 Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters, 10 Mi-8 multi-role transport helicopters, 22 AN and MIG fighters, 1500 Ukrainian army troops, and 42 three-ton loads of stone and rubble for pyrotechnic effects to name a few.
The 9th Company showcases some explosive action sequences. Violence and vodka are served up in equal measures and it makes for a highly intoxicating cinematic cocktail that's guaranteed to push your excitement levels over the limit by the time the climactic final firefight arrives. Drawing obvious parallels to numerous conflicts occurring around the globe today, 9th Company is a tense, powerful and tragically topical war film that demands to be seen. It's a timely reminder that war is hell, wherever you are from and whatever language you speak.
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