The film dramatizes November 11, 1919- a crucial date in the battle for Latvian independence. A year after the end of the official hostilities of WWI, a renegade German general and troops ...
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The film dramatizes November 11, 1919- a crucial date in the battle for Latvian independence. A year after the end of the official hostilities of WWI, a renegade German general and troops remain outside the Latvian capital. Latvian riflemen, most of them inexperienced volunteers, somehow managed to defeat a larger, better-armed force of German and Russian mercenaries. Written by
Okay, it's not a perfect movie, so what? Very few are. This film attempts to tell its story from a point of view very rarely seen. Of course, it's not entirely accurate historically, but then I can't think of a single historical film from Hollywood that ever was either. Besides, it wasn't meant as a documentary, but as historical drama, where very often some liberties are taken with the facts in order to create a more personal story. However, where it is accurate is from the point of view of the people that participated in this historical time. I should know, because I'm an American of Latvian descent, and I heard these stories from my parents, grandparents and older relatives. In the greater context of this film, these events happened. I found many of the negative criticisms of this film unfounded and rather biased. Personally I think it's quite a good movie, and in the context of Latvian film, it is better than most. I did not find the characters as shallow as another reviewer did. They are all portrayed as human beings with aspirations, human strengths and weaknesses, doubts, etc. So what if certain clichés are used, like we are heroic and noble, and THEY are bad, cunning and manipulative. One reviewer accused the film of demonizing Germans and Russians. Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't Hollywood been demonizing them in films for many years? Besides, considering the fact that historically speaking, when the events of this film happened, The Russians ruled the country, and the German nobility owned the land, treating the indigenous population as serfs or slaves. There was no love for them, and in the context of history, why should they have felt it? Should a freed black slave love his white master? Why? This film accurately reflects the feeling in the country at the time, including the internal squabbling that did exist. Those that wanted independence and those that were afraid that there were powers greater than themselves that could destroy their dreams. The movie addresses this well. What's with the fistfight near the end between Martins and the one-eyed German? A reviewer complained about it. However, in the context of the scene, it fit. Martins disarms him of his bayonet, and what's left is their fists. If this was a Hollywood movie, there would be lengthy unrealistic overdone karate fights instead, but this was how men settled it then so I don't see the problem. Bottom line, it's a good movie and the fact that it portrays a time in history that most people know nothing about makes it even more interesting. I recommend it.
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