Sverak is certainly a technically polished film-maker; but he's also a shameless manipulator of easy emotions and - judging by the way he drastically changed tack from his early films to Kolya and this likewise mushy melodrama - perhaps none too committed to serious art. A shame, because one can imagine there being a very fine movie about Czech pilots flying missions out of Britain, only to be incarcerated by the Commies after the war. But this isn't the one. It offers a predictable, soppily romantic tale of male friendship undermined by the love of a woman, heroics overcoming culture clash, and so on. The dogfighs are mostly terrific, however, and the authentically grim '50s scenes hint at what might have been.
Cast and crew
Hans Jorg Assmann