A Sniper's War (2018)
User ReviewsReview this title
The director presents a balanced view of the conflict and frequently challenges Deki on the legitimacy of Eastern Ukraine's claim to independence as well as why he is there considering it is not his place of birth.
The reason so many Ukrainian nationalists have staged an organised smear campaign on this film is because it does not fit with their narrative of ethnic Russian rebels wishing to leave a now vehemently nationalist Ukraine, which became so by way of illegal coup, overthrowing a legitimately elected government. This film actually shows the story from the other side, which is a dangerous thing for these Ukrainian Nationalists, as knowledge is power and the less the World sees those in the DPR as real human beings the easier it is for Ukraine to denounce them as terrorists.
This is a beautifully shot, harrowing documentary. Unforgettable.
Also for IMBD administrators - surely you have noticed unusual activity from certain IPs. Surely, you realised that something is wrong. But for some reason you allowed it. How come that film barely released and definitely not globally managed to get just one star?
Undeserved the low rating. I don't think politics should affect one's ratings of a a film or documentary.
This comes across as authentic and a good view into what real war entails. There isn't a lot of action at all, but a lot of close studies of people and their lives.
I didn't feel differently about the wars or Russia. In fact, there's nothing about Russia in there, just ethnic Russians minorities fighting attacking majority Ukrainians in a separatist war. The protagonist is a Serbian sniper. The other men and women were separatists.
It comes across as real, compelling and suspenseful with Deki and his nemesis. Dum-dum bullets...wow! Deki is a very well-crafted character.
The cinematography is outstanding as well.
Gave 10/10 to balance all the strange 1/10s.
If you followed some of the NAF commanders and their stories this will add some visuals to the stories. And basically thats why I even watched it. It is so slow and boring that it is not interesting to anyone else.Yes there is a story about the Serbian sniper and why he gets involved. Why those who speak Russian feel like they are being targeted and killed and they want to protect themselves and other Russian speakers from invaders and nato. But there is no propaganda involved here. I mean they dont show anything so how can it sway anyone's mind on anything? But if you wanted to learn more on the story of the Russian speakers in this part of Ukraine then this sheds some light but not in a big way since you already need to know much for ti to make any sense.
So unless people are also putting all Russian speakers into the RF army, there are no Russian troops either. They do show how they deal with attacks and such but this is not the intensity of Syria. They do show a bunch of volunteers from around the world since none of them gets paid. More than anything it gave me a sense of how I would fight invaders who are hell bent on my destruction. And it gave some comfort that others are also taking things into their own hands to do something about the injustice they faced. Not something I would waste my time with normally if I already did not follow the events taking place. Most others would either sympathize what this guy felt and why he feels he needed to do something or nothing at all. In many respects in what I felt this gets a rating of 8. But for many others this is below par on any other level.
No matter what you think about the characters or the Ukraine conflict itself, as documentary it is powerful piece from a perspective we don't often see. Good documentaries, like this one, expose characters and conflicts that are unfamiliar to most audience members. It, also, benefits from very good cinematography by Alex Gritsenko and Santiago Garcia, who were BTW arrested five times wondering on their own around during making of this movie. Billy Martin's mournful music adds to the impact of these scenes, too.
Surprisingly interesting. 8/10
Probing, honest, and although one may think one side or the other is hero or villain, an engaging examination of how war kills much more than merely men, women and children.
The film follows a Serbian sniper serving for the break-away Donestk separatist group (a.k.a. Russian proxies), against the Ukrainian government forces (a.k.a., U.S. proxies), charting his travails over the course of an undefined time period (three years is alluded to, but the film footage does not seem to span anywhere near that long), during the recent hostilities in the pertaining region. It takes a snap shot of the man's life and ruminations in his role as marksman, while on and off the battlefield -- culminating in a somewhat ambiguous conclusion (as to his retirement... or not).
However, it should be noted that the film is very likely a Parvda-esque propaganda piece, wholly promoting the separatist side of the ledger in this conflict. I make mention of this because (i) it's rather obvious in the film itself, and (ii) because this fact seems to have resulted in the film receiving unduly low IMDb user ratings -- which, on merit and politics aside, the film does not deserve.
The key points of contention, and which rather give the game away, relate to the obvious bias of the central figure of the film -- regarding his political leanings, his interpretation of the war he's depicted as being embroiled in (as well as the Bosnian War of the mid-90's, that he alludes to incentivising his involvement here), and the overly mawkish way in which the guy is presented (...as well as one, suspiciously set-piece-looking situation he finds himself in).
As an example of the initial point, the man squarely blames the U.S. (lit. capitalism) for the Bosnian War -- seemingly oblivious to the fact that the Serbs butchered thousands of Albanian Moslems during their campaign of ethnic cleansing; as well as in-ironically trumpeting the great social equality of Communist Yugoslavia. (NB: I'm of Hungarian ancestry, with parents who helm from an erstwhile part of Hungary now in Serbian territory -- and I've been well apprised of how 'great' communism was, let me assure you... Hungarians were the first to rise against it, and three years in the Russian gulag for the egregious 'crime' of owning a farm, for my grandfather, is testament to the Soviet brand of 'egalitarianism'!)
In the case of the latter, a few of the scenes felt contrived -- in particular: the sniper apparently getting shot, but the body cam(?) he was wearing up until that point (and again thereafter) seemingly, inexplicably and irreconcilably M.I.A. at the time of said incident; and the subsequent medal award ceremony also felt ad hoc and just tad too neat a bow to be tied around a documentary film -- i.e., it felt scripted and smacked of a Russian film school graduate pandering to U.S. viewer 'neat and tidy ending' sentiments.
Though, it should be noted that the film, as broached, is well-made and, as such, may well have its intended effect on some of the more suggestible and less world weary Russian state television reared alumni. Of course, the opposite could be said for jingoistic, pro Western viewers, who will (and do) just rate the film down for not aligning with the particular narrative that they've been inculcated with... And around the confirmation / association bias carousel goes -- where it stops, only Hell knows.
Having said all that, I myself did not expect to see an objective account of the conflict in question; given the caveat proffered by the contentious user reviews associated with this film. As such, the sometimes blatant propaganda did not taint my assessment of this piece on its merits as an example of good film-making. I do recommend it -- it's engaging and a different perspective than what we're used to over in the West. But only with the proviso that those who do watch it, do not do so with the explicit intention to be politically enlightened, as to the pertaining situation; much less, the Age old capitalism vs. communism debate. The former quandary being far too raw a wound to be properly assessed with an objective eye yet; with the latter requiring much more of a 'War and Peace' approach to even attempt to decipher, not just Parthian snipes from a distance. 7/10
Whilst it is highly likely that 'Deki' is a 'propoganda' sniper with little role in actual combat this document serves to highlight the attitudes towards the West, and in particular NATO, exhibited by those fighting against Ukraine in the Donbas region.
It demonstrates how well a Russian backed force uses information, misinformation and disinformation to influence attitudes, particularly amongst their home audiences.
To simply write the documentary off because you disagree with the views expressed is not objective or helpful - I am sure the director approached this with an open mind, to try to explore the thinking behind the annexation and ongoing conflict - perhaps those reviewers should appreciate his work for what it is and not throw in their own political views.