TV series set in 1944 in the woods of Belarus, Soviet Union, during the Second World War. Sharpshooter Olga (Tolstoganova) and private Kolya Malakhov (Chadov) meet and fall in love during ...
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TV series set in 1944 in the woods of Belarus, Soviet Union, during the Second World War. Sharpshooter Olga (Tolstoganova) and private Kolya Malakhov (Chadov) meet and fall in love during the bloody battle for the 'Unknown Hill'. They know that they may not survive the battle.Written by
I'm all for anything about World War 2, especially from the unusual perspective of the Eastern front. Even with limited expectations, I ended up slightly disappointed. This desperately tries to be the Russian version of Band of Brothers, but fails on several levels...
There is pretty much only one interesting character, the sniper Olga, and that is because she's the only one who doesn't behave like a raving lunatic - though obviously the other actors had fun, perhaps too much at times. The fight scenes are grand for sure, but often quite cheesy, especially when the plot requires (and this happens several times) for one of the Russian heroes to single-handedly eliminate dozen or so Germans. It also borrows heavily here and there, from the sniper duel (here with a bizarre comical twist and even more bizarre ending) all the way to the "shooting pistol at a tank" scene.
One thing must be granted the Russian makers, though - for all the pathos, they obviously tried to do a somewhat objective look at the Red army, with all its weaknesses. Often you can really believe that these are Russian soldiers, at least for a short while, until they do something crazy again or fall into a dumb dialog (though this actually makes it more believable as far as the officers are concerned) and the magic is lost. You get to grasp the huge price the Russians paid for their victory, and many of the reasons why it was so.
It is epic, for sure, but inadvertently more funny than intended - and scary when it tries to be funny. The plot is confusing, reasons why characters act the way they do are unclear, and the whole thing would probably make more sense compressed into just one episode. Still, if you get an opportunity to watch it, do, if only to compare with the HBO series. And obviously, to experience a moment of happiness for not having had to serve in the Red Army.
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