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I generally enjoy movies that tell the (somewhat) true stories of real-life rebels and "Robin Hoods," such as William Wallace, Paan Singh Tomar, and Ned Kelley. Tadas Blinda certainly fits the mold, but this movie did not do him justice.
For a "true story," Tadas Blinda, Pradzia seems pretty cliché. In fact, I was surprised at how many elements it shared with Braveheart. While the acting was not great, I am not sure if it was the fault of the actors or because some of the characters were so cartoonish, particularly Konstancija. I almost expected him to begin pulling on his mustache à la Snidely Whiplash.
Of course, I did not expect production quality on par with, say, an American or Japanese film, and I was not pleasantly surprised. The editing was pretty bad in some places and the "battle" scenes felt like a "cast of dozens," which made the battles feel like little skirmishes. I was particularly bothered by the tone of the film. Something tragic would happen, and then minutes later the characters would be acting light and almost slap-sticky, or a character would be being lynched, and when freed at the last second, would immediately bond with those who were just trying to string him up. The romance also seemed a little forced, particularly with so little backstory between the two supposed lovers, and the less said about the affair sidestory the better. It just seemed like the director could not decide on what tone to set and couldn't find a good balance between the tragedy that spurred Blinda's rise to rebel leader, with the desire to show some humor and charm.
That all said, the scenery was amazing -- Lithuania is a beautiful country. Agnia Ditkovskite is equally lovely and does what she can with what she had to work with. I did also enjoy the obvious conflict, not between rich and poor, but between Lithuanians, Poles, and Russians. It was an interesting view of the local politics of the time.
This was not a horrible film, and there were moments of light genius. I would recommend this film to anyone who has a particular attachment to Lithuania or history. For the rest, you might want to go re-watch Braveheart.
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