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Archangel (2005)

TV Movie  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  5 January 2006 (Estonia)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 3,741 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 8 critic

A British college professor working in Russia investigates certain mysteries surrounding the life and death of Joseph Stalin.

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(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Archangel (TV Movie 2005)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Prof. Fluke Kelso
...
Zinaida Rapava
...
R.J. O'Brian
Lev Prygunov ...
Vladimir Mamantov
...
Suvorin
Harry Ditson ...
Frank Adelman
...
Velma
...
Anna Gerasimova ...
Anna
Claudia Harrison ...
Louise
Kaspars Zvigulis ...
Young Papu Rapava
Valery Chernyak ...
Old Papu Rapava
Aurelija Anuzhite ...
Olga
Ziedonis Lochmelis ...
Viktor
Jakov Rafalson ...
Moscow Official (as Yakov Rafalson)
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Storyline

Set in contemporary Moscow and the frozen northern town of Archangel, the drama revisits the stark landscape of Communist Russia and takes place over four days in the life of academic Fluke Kelso. His fateful meeting with a former Stalinist bodyguard leads to the uncovering of one of the world's most dangerous and best kept secrets. He is led unwittingly through murder and intrigue towards his own personal "Holy Grail" - Joseph Stalin's secret legacy - a legacy that could change the face of Russian history forever. Written by Christopher Hall

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

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Release Date:

5 January 2006 (Estonia)  »

Also Known As:

Arcángel  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2 parts)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stalin had two sons, one of whom, Yakov, died in German captivity during the war, the other, Vasilii died of alcoholism in 1962. Yakov's son Evgenii has tried to carry the family torch, much as "Joseph" in the film, with little success. The conceit of the film might be based on the discovery in 2001 of another Stalin grandson, whose father was conceived during Stalin's exile in Siberia before the revolution. See more »

Goofs

After Kelso is released from the police station he is given a ride by the Russian intelligence. You can clearly see that he is getting into black BMW 5 series (e-39) but in the next shot he is getting out from a black BMW 7 series (e-38). See more »

Quotes

Velma: Why do they call you Fluke?
Fluke Kelso: Because I was a mistake. My mother had me when she was 46.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the greatest pleasures of Archangel is the opportunity to see Daniel Craig at his best.
16 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Archangel, an excellent action/adventure story, was filmed in Moscow and Latvia and originally produced as a two part BBC-TV series. Unlike many US adaptations of serialized TV shows, the transition between the episodes is seamless and the ensuing two-hour drama stands in good stead as an integrated whole.

The result is an outstanding motion picture. The cinematography is impressive, the plot is fascinating, and the acting, by both supporting actors and principals is first rate - including what may be Daniel Craig's finest recent performance.

Filmed under what were obviously frequently challenging conditions of rain, snow and cold, Archangel manages to capture the bitter chill and desolation of the countryside in winter as well as the grit and grandeur of Moscow.

As the plot unfolds it relates the tale of a Western historian, Kelso – played by Craig – who attends a conference in Moscow only to discover a mystery and a conspiracy dating back to Stalin's death in 1953. His life in danger, Kelso teams up with a young Russian woman, Zinaida - brilliantly portrayed by Yekaterina Rednikova – to solve the mystery and attempt to foil the plot.

Although the story line sounds generally similar to "the Da Vinci Code", Archangel more credibly dramatizes a profound conflict in values between traditionalists and progressives – in this case, in a society where socialism was once the opiate of the intelligentsia. In that respect it is much like the earlier Russia House, which starred Sean Connery as the western visitor enmeshed in a dangerous conspiracy and internal conflict in the former Soviet Union.

To one who lived through the cold war, Archangel does a marvelous job – integrating current events with flashbacks - of depicting the complex ways in which the Russian people did and still do react to Stalin – a proved mass murderer - with fear, with hatred, with admiration and respect, and even with love.

The story doesn't require too extreme a suspension of disbelief, and the portrayal of the Moscow streets and Russian people, rural and urban, powerful or impoverished, opportunists and petty bureaucrats, progressives who long for change and traditionalist who seek a return to an earlier era, is quite realistic.

One of the greatest pleasures of Archangel is the opportunity to see Daniel Craig at his best. He brings wit, charm and intelligence to the role of Kelso in a way that he was either unable or not allowed to do in either Casino Royale or Munich.

Craig is obviously a very talented actor – and in Archangel, delivers a performance that far outshines his work in Casino Royale – as well as that of the other Bond – Sean Connery – in a similar role in the aforementioned Russia House.

All in all, a great way to spend two hours – and I'd watch it again


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