The 9th Company (15)

Film

War films

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Time Out says

Tue Feb 13 2007

A 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.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Feb 16, 2007

Duration:

130 mins

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Dan C.

Can this movie be bought in Canada ? where ? someone please let me know ,Thank you ...just by watching the trailer i think it is up there with Europa Europa,Stalingrad,Anemy at the gates...i love movies made in the non Hollywood style,they have more class,more realism ...again thank you to all.

Dan C.

Can this movie be bought in Canada ? where ? someone please let me know ,Thank you ...just by watching the trailer i think it is up there with Europa Europa,Stalingrad,Anemy at the gates...i love movies made in the non Hollywood style,they have more class,more realism ...again thank you to all.

west50

As previously stated, its surprising to see such a commercial film product to come out of Russia. And at the same time unfortunate that it copies western style action movies and not deliver a more locally flavoured way of telling the story. Points given to a nice start, lets have more. Russian cultural tradition is a good basis for high expectations. - Spasiba!

west50

As previously stated, its surprising to see such a commercial film product to come out of Russia. And at the same time unfortunate that it copies western style action movies and not deliver a more locally flavoured way of telling the story. Points given to a nice start, lets have more. Russian cultural tradition is a good basis for high expectations. - Spasiba!

CJ

In my opinion this is a very good film, it is like a mix of all the best parts from the Vietnam films of the 80's in the USA, the ham burger hill style attack of the Afgahns, the desperate attempemt by the enemy to over run the hill top base at the end (just like in "platoon"), and the mull metal jacket method of pre-war training. However I'm not knocking it, This film tells a storey of a group of ordinary guys who fought only to stay alive (and only one does). To me this film captures the essence of wars like Vietnam and Afganistan. In Vietnam the US military had virtually destroyed the Viet Cong after the failed "Tet offensive" in 1968 but then decided to pull out of the war just as it was finaly going their way due to political problems at home, just as in the case of the Russians in this film, however while the USA survived its war in Vietnam the Soviet Union didn't survive for much longer after Afganistan.... Its good to finaly see something from the Russian side of the conflict for a change instead of the cold war propaganda of the 80's. If you enjyod this film "The Beast" from 1988 also tels a storey about russians in the Afgahn war.

CJ

In my opinion this is a very good film, it is like a mix of all the best parts from the Vietnam films of the 80's in the USA, the ham burger hill style attack of the Afgahns, the desperate attempemt by the enemy to over run the hill top base at the end (just like in "platoon"), and the mull metal jacket method of pre-war training. However I'm not knocking it, This film tells a storey of a group of ordinary guys who fought only to stay alive (and only one does). To me this film captures the essence of wars like Vietnam and Afganistan. In Vietnam the US military had virtually destroyed the Viet Cong after the failed "Tet offensive" in 1968 but then decided to pull out of the war just as it was finaly going their way due to political problems at home, just as in the case of the Russians in this film, however while the USA survived its war in Vietnam the Soviet Union didn't survive for much longer after Afganistan.... Its good to finaly see something from the Russian side of the conflict for a change instead of the cold war propaganda of the 80's. If you enjyod this film "The Beast" from 1988 also tels a storey about russians in the Afgahn war.

Hugo

It is a shame the reviewer Trevor Johnston was not see past his silly anti Russian ramblings that apparently obscured his view of this film. If he had he would have seen an epic, beautifully shot film which is actually about the hypocrisy, tragedy and ultimate futility of war.

Hugo

It is a shame the reviewer Trevor Johnston was not see past his silly anti Russian ramblings that apparently obscured his view of this film. If he had he would have seen an epic, beautifully shot film which is actually about the hypocrisy, tragedy and ultimate futility of war.

Paul Godsmark

This film lives up to Russian cinematic tradition with its absolutely stunning cinematography, and whilst some might be inclined to suggest that the plot is somewhat generic, nonetheless it relays a fantastic story. It is incredibly well cast. Having spent time in Russia and Eastern Europe it was incredible to see how similar the personalities of the characters of the young men were to people I had encountered on my travels; consequently I found myself relating to and understanding the characters with comparative ease. The one area where it is letdown is the score; which is frankly outdated, too light-hearted and overused and detracts rather than adds to the mood of the film. In his review I believe that Trevor Johnson has missed the point of this film – I can assure you that if it were simply a Russian equivalent of the Top Gun story it would not be the biggest grossing film ever in post communist Russia. The point is not so much the plot and the heavy weaponry, but the individuals and the context. If one were to liken this film to any other war films I would suggest that it should be the Vietnam films such as Platoon and The Deer Hunter. The Soviet-Afghan war left 15,000 Russian dead and almost 500,000 sick or wounded, and with the fall of the Soviet Union and Soviet retreat it was perceived as a tragic waste of life, in horrific circumstances (Russia’s Vietnam). It was not the plot that attracted the Russian viewers, it was the subject matter. It takes realistic and largely amicable personalities and shows how they react to the experience of Afghanistan and the issues of life, death, love, sex, good and evil. In this respect I have not seen a war film for a long time that achieves this with such finesse and beauty. By no means is this war film flawless, but it is certainly up there with the best.

Paul Godsmark

This film lives up to Russian cinematic tradition with its absolutely stunning cinematography, and whilst some might be inclined to suggest that the plot is somewhat generic, nonetheless it relays a fantastic story. It is incredibly well cast. Having spent time in Russia and Eastern Europe it was incredible to see how similar the personalities of the characters of the young men were to people I had encountered on my travels; consequently I found myself relating to and understanding the characters with comparative ease. The one area where it is letdown is the score; which is frankly outdated, too light-hearted and overused and detracts rather than adds to the mood of the film. In his review I believe that Trevor Johnson has missed the point of this film – I can assure you that if it were simply a Russian equivalent of the Top Gun story it would not be the biggest grossing film ever in post communist Russia. The point is not so much the plot and the heavy weaponry, but the individuals and the context. If one were to liken this film to any other war films I would suggest that it should be the Vietnam films such as Platoon and The Deer Hunter. The Soviet-Afghan war left 15,000 Russian dead and almost 500,000 sick or wounded, and with the fall of the Soviet Union and Soviet retreat it was perceived as a tragic waste of life, in horrific circumstances (Russia’s Vietnam). It was not the plot that attracted the Russian viewers, it was the subject matter. It takes realistic and largely amicable personalities and shows how they react to the experience of Afghanistan and the issues of life, death, love, sex, good and evil. In this respect I have not seen a war film for a long time that achieves this with such finesse and beauty. By no means is this war film flawless, but it is certainly up there with the best.