Closer To The Moon: this Romanian tragicomedy is a waste of a great story

A stellar cast, fascinating historical setting and novel structure can’t prevent this Soviet-era misfire from succumbing to cliche and a distracting sense of cheapness

Well, so much for elevated expectations. I liked the look of Closer To The Moon when I read about its background. It recounts the story of a real Soviet-era Romanian propaganda movie from 1959, which was interesting in that it was a bank-truck hold-up movie, based on real recent events and starring the very people who had held up the truck. Indeed, it was filmed after the robbers had already been sentenced to death.

All the robbers were Jewish, members of a wartime partisan group that had fought alongside the Red Army against the Nazi occupation of Romania. As successful partisans, they were rewarded under the post-1947 Soviet takeover with positions among the country’s political elite, but by the late 1950s, resurgent Romanian and Soviet
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