The Penal Battalion (2004)
"Shtrafbat" (original title)

TV Mini-Series  -   -  Action | Drama | War
7.4
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 Penalty Battalion Cmdr. Vasilii Tverdokhlebov (unknown episodes)
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20 September 2004 (Russia)  »

Also Known As:

Karny batalion  »

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Humans between the terror and a war
26 August 2007 | by (Seinäjoki, Finland) – See all my reviews

Shtrafbat is the story only Russians could tell about the Second World War. The largest front of the whole conflict has been, ironically, the least appearing subject on the silver screen after the war. While the Western Allies war-effort has been pictured in almost every possible detail and manner, the East has been left out or the job has been left to only some old propaganda movies of little else than historical footage value.

There is no chance that Shtrafbat could compete with Band of Brothers in every detail but neither you want to look at the screen with examining petty visual effects in mind. That the soldiers are Russians is enough big reason to forgive the less eye-captivating battle scenes and you can concentrate on the story that is the most interesting. So much different was the war in the Eastern front, and the nature of the Russian army, that you might wish people to produce more dramatizations from the other fronts, and of armies.

Shtrafbat is no way perfect, but it has some rare specialties that augment the overall rating. It tends to crush myths people have about the Second World War, the true heroes were Russian people and not their leaders who sent them to missions where they could only perish. Another great myth bust is that it presents the enemy, who does not pick up his gun, as an equal human being - an advancement that has been difficult to try in many acclaimed films as well. Shtrafbat shows how the war in the eastern front was a war of survival and how the clash of the -isms grinds people into dust.


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