A band of Russian soldiers fight to hold a strategic building in their devastated city against a ruthless German army, and in the process become deeply connected to two Russian women who have been living there.
Stalingrad has become hell and paradise for those who were worthy of awards, but the only reward they managed to get was love. How they won, and how they were not defeated, who they were and who was on the other side of the street, what secret they have taken away with them - the movie will tell this story. Written by
The set built near St. Petersburg was meant to reproduce every detail of Stalingrad's heroic image. The construction of the set took six months, involved over 400 people and cost around 4 million dollars. See more »
Of the model airplanes hanging from the ceiling, one appears to be a model of an F4U Corsair which was only released in 1942. See more »
When I seen the trailers for this movie, I was gob-smacked. The superb VFX suggested an epic movie about the battle for Stalingrad. Great, this was going to be like "The Longest Day" or one of the other huge classic World War II movies. After the initial opener set in another part of the world, we get to Stalingrad. After some opening battle scenes which are very well done indeed, the realization sets in that what looks like an epic movie is in fact one set around a square in the city, and mainly on the now famous Pavlov's House. The events depicted are set before The Russians encircled The Germans, so we don't get to see the sight of half starved Germans. The movie settles into segments where the Russian heroes all seem to be obsessed with gaining the attentions or affections of 15 year old Russian civilian girl (Natashka) who bravely stayed in her home despite the carnage visited on the city. The apparent intention of the movie to show a love story set in Stalingrad isn't properly thought-through, simply because the hero who eventually wins Natashka's heart is a bolt out of the blue, with little in the way of cluing-in the viewer as it develops. We are left disengaged and wondering what and why about this. Thomas Kretschmann plays German officer Peter Kahn, whose main priority seems to be with a Russian woman (Masha) who reminds him of his wife who died in an air raid back in Germany. He literally puts aside all common sense and military discipline with his obsession for Masha. He defies orders, displaying little interest in the battle and risking court-martial and the firing squad. There are many good things about this movie. The VFX and sound are amazing, absolutely first class and up there with the very best. The realism they crammed into the VFX just has to be seen and appreciated. The German Panzer tanks are in fact a single Russian T34 disguised as a Panzer IV and then replicated by the VFX team into several more Panzers. Others have mentioned that Panzer IV tanks of 1942 didn't have the protective metal skirts shown in the movie, but to me that is nit-picking. The German aircraft flying overhead and the flak coming up at them is an amazing scene, as is the one where we see a damaged plane coming in and crash landing in the square. The hand to hand fight scenes are very realistic. The period uniforms seem to be quite accurate, especially the German ones. The general appearance of the uniforms is welcome and shows them grubby and dusty, which makes a welcome change from the unrealistically shiny boots and helmets in the thick of battle that we see in many war movies. Great attention to detail has been given to this. We get some aerial views of the banks of the Volga and the VFX period-recreated city damaged and on fire, which is very satisfying. They give the viewer a tantalizing glimpse and feel of how close the Germans came to victory. While overall I don't think this was a bad movie at all, I do think an opportunity to expand it more was lost. I watched this with sub-titles and the quality of translation is pretty poor in places, with small mistakes that I found annoying. There really is little excuse for this. For me, the VFX team saved the day. Their work and that of the make-up people is a credit to them and helps make this movie visually better than it otherwise deserves to be. I am giving this movie a 7 as a mark of respect and appreciation for the work the VFX and make-up team did. There is a short (about 9 minutes I think) "VFX Making Of" on Youtube that I highly suggest watching as it shows how the VFX was done.
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