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The 1980s in Czechoslovakia. The young talented sprinter Anna (Judit Bárdos) is selected for the national team and starts training to qualify for the Olympic Games. As a part of the preparation she is placed in a secret "medical programme" where she's getting doped with anabolic steroids. Her performance is getting better, but after she collapses at the training, she learns the truth about the drugs. Anna decides to continue in her training without the steroids even though her mother (Anna Geislerova) is worried that she won't be able to keep up with other athletes and might not qualify for the Olympics, which she sees as the only chance for her daughter to escape from behind the Iron Curtain. After Anna finishes the last in the indoor race, her mother informs the coach (Roman Luknar) that Anna is no longer using steroids. They decide to apply the steroids to Anna secretly, pretending it's nothing but doses of harmless vitamins. Written by
Movies about talented athletes training are interesting, as are movies about totalitarian governments, but while this movie is well made it seems to just go through the motions. First of all we don't get a very good sense of Anna's struggles or accomplishments as an athlete. The political oppression of her family is also only partly sketched. While this leaves something for the viewer to figure out, it really undercuts the drama and significance of events. And we are supposed to believe that Anna initially doesn't realize that the secret injections she is getting contain a banned performance enhancing drug. So it seems we are watching a movie about a mediocre athlete who is also unfamiliar with truth. Added to this are her mother's strange actions, which are supposed to be the tragic result of the government system, but come across more as silly due to her obscure motivations. There is some dramatic tension, and the ending is acceptable, but this movie is half-baked.
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