In World War II, the fall of Stalingrad will mean the collapse of the whole country. The Germans and Russians are fighting over every block, leaving only ruins behind. The Russian sniper Vassili Zaitsev stalks the Germans, taking them out one by one, thus hurting the morale of the German troops. The political officer Danilov leads him on, publishing his efforts to give his countrymen some hope. But Vassili eventually starts to feel that he can not live up to the expectations on him. He and Danilov fall in love with the same girl, Tanya, a female soldier. From Germany comes the master sniper König to put an end to the extraordinary skilled Russian sniper.Written by
It took a team of 300 nearly five months to create all the prosthetic corpses seen in the film. See more »
Several times when the soldiers are firing their weapons a flame is shown but no cartridge cases. See more »
[whispering to boy aiming rifle]
I am a stone. I do not move. Very slowly, I put snow in my mouth. Then he won't see my breath. I take my time. I let him come closer. I have only one bullet. I aim at his eye. Very gently, my finger presses on the trigger. I do not tremble. I have no fear. I'm a big boy now. Ready Vassili? Now, Vassili, fire!
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In the grand tradition of Old Hollywood, this international co-production seeks to frame the key battle of WW2 (the REAL key battle, not the ones from the John Wayne movies) as a morality tale involving a love triangle.
It is a bold idea, and beautifully executed.
In fact an argument could be made -- and I will make it -- that any flaws in the execution (it lags a bit here and there) are the result of the film-makers' "reach exceeding their grasp" and they attempted too much, more than one film could ever accomplish.
But what a film it is! You viewer feel as though you are there, making history. The four stars involved have, each of them, never given a bad performance in their careers and they surely maintain their records here.
Ed Harris in particular -- although he has less screen time -- will always to this reviewer seem a vastly under-rated actor. (This review written in 2017 where an older Harris still uses his charisma in a defining role for HBOs Westworld .... and nails it.) Recommended? Absolutely! In the Metacritic data that IMDb so helpfully provides I could not help but notice one reviewer commenting that, well, it sure isn't in the same class as SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.
Which is the irony of doing film reviews. I have never not once thought of wanting to see SAVING PRIVATE RYAN again, but this film is one I like to revisit every few years. Magnificent.
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