The 9th Company (15)
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Time Out says
Tue Feb 13 2007A massive hit at the Russian box office, this purports to be a gritty portrait of the Soviet frontline during the last days of the Afghan War, but its recruiting-poster heroics and gung-ho attitudes seem more reminiscent of a Russian ‘Top Gun’. There’s certainly no deviation from Hollywood formula as a bunch of raw recruits, assorted, get whipped into shape on the training ground by a battle-scarred veteran, forming a camaraderie that stands them in good stead when they’re dropped into combat and bullets start flying past their ears. Why are they there? There’s a very brief scene explaining their mission to help Afghanistan ‘resist imperialist aggression’, but the basic priority is kill or be killed – and we’re right behind them. As indeed is director Fyodor Bondarchuk, who gives himself the plum role of the cool, seen-it-all field commander.
There’s no PC pretension to understanding the enemy’s point of view, just familiar war-flick suspense and action scenarios, with heavy-duty weaponry to the fore and some overly approximate CGI occasionally denting the otherwise considerable credibility. Actually, the pumped-up scenes of vodka-fuelled youth on a psychotic machine-gun rampage probably get close to the scary truth of historical reality, but the unquestioning lionising of Russian heroism is far from comfortable viewing, especially given the Putin regime’s darkening human rights record.
Author: Trevor Johnston
Fri Feb 16, 2007