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

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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  »

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Technical Specs

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(2 parts)

Sound Mix:

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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 and the reporter follow Josef into his cabin, Josef brings them a storage box containing some of his late father's effects. Kelso takes a medal from the box and states that it is the Hero of the Soviet Union Medal. However, it is clearly not the HSU Medal. The pendant (lower part) of the real HSU Medal is in the shape of a simple large star; the medal Kelso holds has a much more elaborate pendant. See more »

Quotes

Fluke Kelso: I didn't think you liked me.
Velma: I don't like your *type*.
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User Reviews

 
Surely the novel can't be as ridiculously simplistic as this?
14 September 2006 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Robert Harris writes surprisingly good popular upmarket airport bestsellers aimed at Sunday Times and Guardian readers that once upon a time would have been made into self-important overproduced movie potboilers but now (Enigma aside) get made in to misfiring TV series instead (Fatherland, Selling Hitler). Latest failure is Archangel, a historical/political conspiracy thriller set in modern-day Russia where the Maguffin is (initially at least) a hunt for Stalin's notebook before turning into something infinitely sillier. Unfortunately the end result is so flat in almost every single way that you're left with little to do but notice the many plot holes and increasing absurdities in the pared down script that hits plot points but never makes you buy into the story or the clichéd characters in any way and seemingly goes out of its way to avoid dealing with any interesting issue that might threaten to crop up en route.

The trick to plots this absurd on the printed page is to surround them with big themes (the ongoing malign influence of Stalin and Russia's communist past, the commercial and political exploitation of history) and a lot of recycled historical research and local color to make people think you know what you're talking about. The trick to this kind of nonsense on screen, however, is to keep it moving and put enough of a spin on the stock situations so that the audience doesn't stop to think, but screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Fresnais come up empty every time: when you see Beria having a soldier bury secret documents IN HIS OWN BACK GARDEN in a hole no more than 18 inches deep, you know that no-one's even making an effort here.

Professionally made and watchable if you've nothing better to do, but it has that tired and uninspired factory feel to it. And who on Earth thought that Daniel Craig was perfect casting for a middle-aged American history professor? He's a fine actor, but he can't bring anything to the table against those kind of odds – not even an American accent. But even he isn't faced with the kind of ridiculous casting that Konstantin Lavronenko fails to conquer as a character who is supposed to be at least 50 years old but looks no older than 30 (although he's actually 45), rendering the final twist even more unbelievable on the screen than it is on the page.


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