Spectacular But Flawed
Starring: Mariya Smolnikova, Yanina
Studilina, Petr Fedorov,
Thomas Kretschmann, Sergey
Bondarchuk, Dmitry Lisenov,
Andrey Smolyakov, Aleksey
Barabash, Oleg Volku, Heiner
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 131 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony
Director: Fedor Bondarchuk
Executive Producer: Nataliya Gorina, Paul Heth,
Producer: Alexander Rodnyansky, Anton
Rudovskiy, Sergey Melkumov
Writer: Ilya Tilkin, Sergey Snezhkin
Address Comments To:Michael Lynton, CEO/Co-Chairman
Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman
Jeff Blake, Vice Chairman
Sony Pictures Entertainment
(Columbia Pictures/TriStar/FilmDistrict/Screen Gems/Affirm Films/Provident Films)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000
Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
The movie begins with the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. A middle-aged Russian man leads a rescue of some German exchange students. To calm their fears while they wait to be dug out, he tells the story of how the Battle of Stalingrad led to his birth.
The movie begins in the fall of 1942 when Russian troops are about to launch an offensive on German positions in the city. The Russians are decimated with fire when a German lieutenant named Peter manages to blow up a massive fuel depot on a hill along the Volga River. However, five Russian soldiers, led by a brave veteran sergeant named Gromov, establish a command post in a devastated building. There, they discover a small band of Russian civilian militia and, amazingly, an 18-year-old orphaned girl, Katya, who’s survived the German onslaught.
The Russian soldiers all fall in love with this young courageous woman who refuses to leave her home. She becomes a mascot and a symbol of all that they are fighting for in Stalingrad. Meanwhile, the German lieutenant, though married, has become infatuated with Masha, a beautiful Russian woman living in the German sector next to the building controlled by the Russians.
The rest of the movie traces the bitter struggle between the Russians and the Germans in this one sector of the city. It becomes a microcosm of the whole battle, and indeed the whole war.
STALINGRAD does a great job in depicting the ravages, courage, and cowardice of war. It also does a great job in delineating the characters, who are wonderfully portrayed. The worldview is moral, with some surprisingly positive Christian references. That said, there are still a few too many characters, so the movie wanders at times. Finally, the movie avoids talking about the communist tyranny that was Stalinist Russia at the time. The most perplexing moment comes at the end, when a title card says all the Russian soldiers fought for freedom. In reality, the Russians fought for their homes, but not necessarily for freedom. That’s because, after the war, Stalin and the communist party resumed their tyranny that was responsible for murdering more than 80 million people, and enslaving millions more, not only in Russia proper, but also in Eastern Europe where Stalin controlled several nations.
STALINGRAD also contains a fair amount of foul language, very strong war violence, brief nudity, and sexual situations. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
STALINGRAD does a great job in depicting the ravages, courage, and cowardice of war. It also does a great job delineating the characters and contains some brief Christian content. That said, there are still too many characters, so the movie wanders at times. Also, it avoids talking about the communist tyranny that was Stalinist Russia at the time. It also contains a fair amount of foul language, very strong war violence, brief nudity, and sexual situations. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for STALINGRAD.