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Telling of Russian and Soviet culture-- and a hidden message!
This is an interesting story, based on true events. I must say the movie fails the typical standards of the trade: there are intense moments but without the classical build up, climax and conclusion.
It is truthful to the Russian/Soviet/Communist way of doing things although the time is 1985 when the "perestroika" was happening. The harshness of the system is clearly seen in the replacement captain. The unyielding nature of good people even in the face of the regime is shown by the younger captain.
However, I think there was a message in the movie that was hidden even from the actual authors, actors and directors. What you can see in the story is that Russians have this respect for authority beyond human reason. In other words the moral character of the man in authority is beyond question. Yes, there is some rebellion going on, but in the end it becomes clear that one is worthy not because they are morally good, but because they have power. This is a cultural and spiritual reality for other Slavic peoples and those where Eastern Orthodoxy and communism have been in place for centuries. I personally have little tolerance for such values. I cannot accept that there is inherent goodness in power over people, especially when used to assert power for the sake of power. As it will be seen in this movie, such assertion are rather brainless, as they serve no clear purpose, be it moral or utilitarian, but just the assertion of power over the "lower classes." This aspect may be too subtle for some viewers to appreciate, but for me this was the most important message of this film. It delivers in this regard, maybe even unbeknownst to the actual movie makers. That's why I gave it 5, otherwise it is a 4.
In a typical Eastern and European fashion there are moments where the viewer is left scratching his head wondering, and where did this come from? Or what is this sequence trying to tell me?
Cinematography is good, great pictures. If you watch the movie you won't be left feeling like you wasted your time. There is no disgusting language and profanity as in 80% of the Hollywood flicks. But this film is in no way a masterpiece.
7 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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