Cinema Review: Stalingrad | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024  


Studio: Columbia Pictures
Directed by Fedor Bondarchuk

Feb 28, 2014 Web Exclusive
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Stalingrad has been heavily touted in the U.S. as the highest-grossing Russian film of all time. The movie—shot in IMAX 3D—portrays one of history’s bloodiest battles not so much in the massive scale one would expect from such a large shooting format, but by focusing on a single group of Russian soldiers holding out in a bombed-out house with a pretty, young civilian. The story is narrated from a modern-day perspective by the young woman’s son, recounting his mother’s stories from the battle. Meanwhile, another part of the story plays out beyond the enemy line, as a German officer falls for a beautiful Russian girl. The film’s description as “a dramatic love story against the backdrop of a grand battle” couldn’t be more fitting.

War movie buffs expecting frequent, pull-out-all-the-stops combat scenes could be disappointed by the movie’s focus on the soldiers’ (sometimes sappy) interpersonal relationships. Still, the action scenes which are present—particularly one huge scene as Russian troops storm the banks of the Volga, and the numerous up-close-and-personal shootouts in rubbled buildings—are violent and vivid, and will keep viewers holding their breaths. Stalingrad’s use of 3D feels surprisingly subtle, given its potential with a massively-budgeted war film; with the 135 minute runtime, perhaps it’s best the 3D remained conservative and spared the audience headaches or motion sickness. As a whole, Stalingrad is far from a perfect war film, but it does add up to an overall gratifying visual experience.

Author rating: 6/10

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