Customer Reviews


220 Reviews
5 star:
 (134)
4 star:
 (30)
3 star:
 (19)
2 star:
 (7)
1 star:
 (30)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


162 of 169 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastating
I was browing through the local public library's video shelves yesterday and pulled down "Idi i smotri" on a whim; I'd never heard of it and hoped only that I might be in for a better-than-average morality play, with the various subplots and melodrama typical of the war movie.
Nothing could have prepared me for the experience. It is a singleminded,...
Published on October 6, 2000

versus
67 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WHAT IS THIS? RETURN OF THE LASERDISC?!?
Alright let me start by saying Come and See is the most shattering, emotionally damaging war film ever created by anyone in any country in the entire history of film (which means its also one of the most shattering, emotionally damaging films ever created PERIOD). This is not fun viewing, this is not light viewing, but it is ESSENTIAL VIEWING. This is the movie they...
Published on November 17, 2001 by jeremy


‹ Previous | 1 222 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

162 of 169 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastating, October 6, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Come and See [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I was browing through the local public library's video shelves yesterday and pulled down "Idi i smotri" on a whim; I'd never heard of it and hoped only that I might be in for a better-than-average morality play, with the various subplots and melodrama typical of the war movie.
Nothing could have prepared me for the experience. It is a singleminded, intensely focused, harrowing record of war, unlike anything I have ever seen. Elem Klimov gives us no moral context, makes no attempt to ground the viewer in any way (with the exception of a single scene near the end, after the cremation of the living villagers of Perekhody); instead his camera displays a frighteningly dispassionate willingness to simply show us. The title, I've read, may come from a verse in Revelations about the Beast; regardless, to "Come and See" is exactly what the film invites us to do -- simply to see reality. I think this is why the film is so engaging. I was forced to inhabit completely the eye of the camera, with nothing to protect me from what I was witnessing.
The most compelling "event" we're forced to witness is the evolution of the young protagonist's face, from that of a grinning, excited boy to a wizened, ageless yet ancient shell, scarcely a human face at all. (I've read a review which states that this film is about retaining one's humanity in the face of war. This is sanctimonious nonsense; it's about the obliteration of one's humanity.) Other incredible moments: the dreamlike scene in the forest, after the partisan camp is bombed, when Florian watches Glasha dance in a bright nimbus of falling rain...
I'm still recovering from this film... I may never recover. But I will watch it again, I know, because it's one of the most powerful viewing experiences I've ever had. Elem Klimov is a genius.
Just watch it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


218 of 234 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Come and see, and I looked, and behold a pale horse, November 13, 2005
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Come & See (DVD)
and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

The above passage from the Bible's Book of Revelations is the source of the title of Soviet director Elem Klimov's grim, powerful vision of war and death: "Come and See". The apocalyptic nature of the title is all too relevant as Klimov portrays the Wermacht (in conjunction with the S.S. and groups of collaborators) as the harbingers of the apocalypse who kill with sword and with hunger and with the beast of the earth. The audience serves as the witnesses called upon to behold the devastation.

Come and See takes place in occupied Belarus (loosely translated as "white Russia), a former Soviet Republic that shares a western border with Poland and a southern border with the Ukraine. Belarus was overrun shortly after the commencement of Operation Barbarossa in June 1941 and not liberated until July 3, 1944 the day Minsk was retaken by the Red Army. The film follows Florya (played remarkably well by thirteen-year old Alexei Kravchenko), a young teen eager to join the Partisans. The partisan movement was particularly successful in Belarus and their actions have been the stuff of legends and no small amount of pride since the war. At least 40,000 civilians joined the partisans, including hundreds of Jews who fled the holocaust in Poland to join the resistance movement in Belarus.

After digging up a rifle, the only requirement for enlistment, he is taken from his village and his crying mother and little sisters in his best Sunday suit to join with a band of partisans operating out of a wooded marshland near his village. Eager to fight, Florya is disappointed when he is left behind with Glasha, a cute young girl who pines for the Partisan's commander. They fall prey to a German attack and Florya finds himself partially deaf from the bombing. They make their way to his village where they find that Florya's family, along with the rest of the village, has been murdered in cold blood. Thus begins Florya's descent into a state close to madness. His journey from the village takes him on a tour of a countryside rendered devastated by the war. He is taken in by a farmer only to find that the village is about to be visited by the Germans. Florya is the only one with a sense that they are about to be exterminated and, sure enough, the soldiers with the willing help of local collaborators, the townsfolk are loaded into a large barn and killed. The scenes of the slaughter are horrifying both for the visual portrayal of grenades and flame throwers killing old men, women, and children and for the glee with which the executions are performed. Keep in mind that the horrors I just described are not shown to the viewer in any great detail. Rather, they are felt, and that feeling, that sense made a deeper visceral impression on me than scenes of blood and gore. Florya's descent continues until a harrowing closing scene.

There is nothing pretty about the violence, about the death and destruction that permeates Come and See. Nevertheless, it is clear that Klimov is not taking poetic license or exaggerating the horror of war visited upon the civilian population of Belarus. Belarus suffered three million casualties during the war and of the towns and villages destroyed during the fighting at least 450 of them were intentionally destroyed by the Germans, their inhabitants along with them, in retaliation for Partisan actions. Klimov's Come and See is as good a testament to the times the people of Belarus lived through as any monument of bronze or marble. This is a must-see film.

L. Fleisig
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


65 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account of WWII on the Eastern Front . . ., April 19, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Come & See (DVD)
4.5 Stars
Although initially sceptical regarding this movie's historical accuracy as it was a Soviet era production, after watching it I thought this film to be a very honest and sobering portrayal of the war on the Eastern Front, between Hitler's Germany and the Soviet Union during WWII. The movie depicts an often overlooked facet of the war, specifically the activites of the SS "Einsatzgruppen," or special action police units, whose task was to liquidate Jews, communists, and any potential threats to the Nazi regime behind the front lines of the actual fighting. These SS police units travelled behind the army's advance, and in addition to conducting mass executions of Jews and suspected communists, were also employed to "pacify" occupied regions that were suspected of taking part in, or aiding, the growing underground resistance. The activites of such an SS unit provides the background to the movie as the main character, a young teenage boy, loses his parents and survives the razing of a Russian village - a scene quite unpleasant to watch, yet very well depicted and brutal in its realism. Of mention was the role played by local Russian militia in carrying out these executions and "reprisal" raids - as this is a Soviet film, and was subject to state oversight, I was surprised that such unpleasant reminders of Russian collaboration were incorporated. Large numbers of volunteers from the occupied territories were accomplices to the SS in their cleansing actions, a fact documented in this movie.
"Come and See" also provides an interesting glimpse into the role and activities of the Soviet partisans, the insurgent groups fighting the Nazi occupation behind the front. Furthermore, the suffering and harsh conditions endured by Russian civilians living under Nazi occupation is not lost upon the viewer. Although there are definitely stark Good vs. Evil undertones throughout the film (all Germans are essentially portrayed as cold, sadistic, Nazi killers - the Soviet partisans as heroic, beleaguered freedom-fighters), it must be remembered that this movie offers a mere snapshot of the war at its most horrifying level. SS actions such as the ones depicted were commonplace on the Eastern Front - as was the willing, and often enthusiastic participation of anti-Soviet / anti-Semitic elements in the USSR, whom the Nazis depended on for support.
Excellent camera work and photography, in my opinion the quality of filmmaking rivals the most recent Hollywood productions. This film is highly recommended to those interested in watching an accurate account of World War II in the eastern theater, and the war as experienced by the Soviet population.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique, Surreal Film About a Different Kind of War - Not Propaganda, November 26, 2005
This review is from: Come & See (DVD)
I recently saw this movie, and was moved to comment about it after reading other reviews here on Amazon. Other reviewers here have commented that:

1) The surreal aspects of this film are a flaw or weak point.

2) The movie is about the horrors of war in general, not this particular war.

3) The movie is communist propaganda.

I disagree strongly with all three of these points.

1) The film *is* surreal, and that feature works perfectly to impart to the viewer a feeling of being dumped out of one world and into another that doesn't make sense - the exact feeling the 16 year old boy protagonist would feel when suddenly dropped into the hell of nazi occupation. I can't name another film that does so good a job of making the viewer feel like he or she is there, part of what is going on, seeing through the eyes and hearing through the ears of the protagonist.

2) This film is not about just any war. It's about the special nature of the war waged by nazis. There is no combat in this film - none - zero. This film never, ever shows the partisans fighting the nazis. It shows the nazis attacking unarmed civilians. Old and weak men, women, and children.

**** spoilers below ****

Then, in the aftermath of combat, when the partisans have captured a group of nazis, one of the ss officers explains in a calm voice the twisted logic of why they did it. It's all about exterminating an inferior race. "You don't have the right to be" he says, and "it all starts with the children". The nazis want to eliminate their enemy's ability to reproduce. Killing the women and children is not just a brutal act of passion, it's a strategic goal of the nazi war. The fighting between armies to gain control of territory and resources (what we usually see in a war movie) is only one half of the nazi war.

3) The movie is too thoughtful to be propaganda. Propaganda would tend to be a simplistic statement of "we're good, they're bad", but it's clear in this film that nazi ideology is being indicted, not the German people. In the ending montage that some have criticized, the boy is shooting at a picture of Hitler. It's clear he's blaming Hitler, not the Germans. With every shot he takes, time rolls back further, and further, undoing the things Hitler did. He rolls time all the way back to a picture of baby Hitler sitting on his mother's knee. Then, he stops. The camera shows a horrified look on the boy's face. He does not shoot the baby Hitler. This scene implies to me that the boy recognizes the potential for evil in all humans, including himself, and he fears that maybe the human creature itself is irredeemably flawed. I don't believe a propaganda film would leave such an open-to-interpretation ending, or an ending that didn't clearly place blame for everything on "the bad guys". I believe a propaganda film would have taken that last shot, wiping out Hitler at the root as if that answered all questions about everything that happened during World War 2.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ground Zero, November 26, 2000
By 
This review is from: Come and See [VHS] (VHS Tape)
James Ballard once wrote that this is one of the two or three best war movie ever done. I wholeheartedly agree, even if "war movie" is a pretty reductive definition for "Come And See". A better definition would be "an apocalypse movie" - because, more of less, it tries to convey the feeling you should probably experience while in the middle of the end of the world. Seen through the eyes of a young boy, wee see the horror that was Bielorussia in 1943. In the vast forest west of Minsk, an already starving population is caught in tbe middle of the confrontation between partisans and the vicious, ruthless German "security" forces. It's all about death, murder and desperation, told in the most direct and effective possible way. The emotional center of the movie is the destruction of a small village where the young protagonist (who has already witnessed the execution of his parents) has found shelter. I'll not spoil it, but the cumulative effect of this sequence is so strong that my dad (who went a similar ordeal here in Italy in 1944) simply couldn't stand it. And when the massacre's perpetrators land shortly afterward in the jaws of a nearby partisan group, their eventul fate isn't relieving, but just sad: horror piling up on horror. I suggest "Come And See" to anyone willing to try a short but intensely focused (but VERY strong) view of the reality of war. Not for anyone, but still a great movie
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


110 of 128 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking., April 7, 2004
By 
D. Knouse (vancouver, washington United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Come & See (DVD)
4.5 stars. This film is shocking in many ways. The only negative aspect is that for the first half of the film I was battling a serious case of culture-shock. I raised my eyebrows in consternation more than once. However, by the end of the film I was stunned. There are some graphic and intense sequences, many of which linger long after the film is over. I just finished watching it for the first time and I am overwhelmed and haunted by the horrifying images I have seen. Some of the scenes of Nazi brutality are unnerving and evil; their debauchery and slaughter is unforgivable. Seriously, there are scenes in this film I have never seen before and will probably never see in any future films. The camera work is amazing, being a worthy film for study by any aspiring cinematographer, and the direction is outstanding. The main reason I watch foreign films is that I hope to see and experience something I never have. This is one of those experiences. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Russia's answer to Apocalypse Now, July 8, 2005
By 
Alexia Komaux (Conneticut, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Come and See (DVD)
One of the greatest of all war films, Klimov's stunning work stands amongst such works in which the horror and sorrow of conflict are made fresh over again for the viewer, left to stumble numb from the cinema thereafter. Produced for the 40th anniversary of Russia's triumph over the German invaders in WW2, based upon a novella by a writer who was a teenage partisan during the war, the propagandist use to which it was later put - when the GDR was still in the Eastern Bloc, citizens were forced to watch this to warn them of another rise of fascism - does not impair its effect today at all. It echoes intensity found in another masterpiece by the director. Klimov's shorter Larissa (1980) is a remorseful elegy to his late wife. Poetic and very personal, its sense of shock anticipates the heightened anguish that ultimately reverberates through Come And See. Through his images, the director stares uncomprehendingly at a world where lives are removed cruelly and without reason, if on this occasion not just one, but thousands.

At the heart of the narrative is Floyra, both viewer and victim of the appalling events making up the film's narrative, his history a horrendous coming-of-age story. It begins with him laboriously digging out a weapon to use and much changed at the end, he finally uses one. As he travels from initial innocence, through devastating experience, on to stunned hatred, in a remarkable process he ages before our eyes, both inside and out. His fresh face grows perceptibly more haggard as the film progresses, frequently staring straight back at the camera, as if challenging the viewer to keep watching; or while holding his numbed head, apparently close to mental collapse. Often shot directly at the boy or from his point of view, the formal quality of Klimov's film owes something to Tarkovsky's use of the camera in Ivan's Childhood, although the context is entirely different.

The film's title is from the Book of Revelations, referring to the summoning of witnesses to the devastation brought by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. 'Come and See' is an invitation for its youthful protagonist to arm up and investigate the war, but also one for the audience to tread a similarly terrible path, witnessing with vivid immediacy the Belorussion holocaust at close hand. Here, the intensity of what is on offer justifies amplification by the use of a travelling camera, point-of-view shots, and some startlingly surreal effects pointing up unnatural events: the small animal clinging nervously to the German commander's arm for instance, soundtrack distortions, or the mock Hitler sculpted out of clay and skull.

Main character Floyra is the director's witness to events, a horrified visitor forced, like us to 'see' - even if full comprehension understandably follows more slowly. For instance during their return to the village, there is some doubt as to if Floyra is yet, or will be ever, able to fully acknowledge the nature of surrounding events. In one of the most disturbing scenes out of a film full of them, Glasha's reaction to off-screen smells and sights is profoundly blithe and unsettling. So much so, we wonder for a brief while if the youngsters really know what is going on. Its a watershed of innocence: one look back as the two leave and the reality of the situation would surely overwhelm Floyra - just as later, more explicit horrors do the viewer.

Come And See was not an easy shoot. It lasted over nine months and during the course of the action the young cast were called upon to perform some unpleasant tasks including, at one point, wading up to their necks through a freezing swamp. Kravchenko's face is unforgettable during this and other experiences, and there are claims that he was hypnotised in order to simulate the proper degree of shell shock during one of the major early sequences. The sonic distortion created on the soundtrack at this point later appeared to a lesser extent in Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, as did elements of a much-commented scene where a cow is caught in murderous crossfire. Klimov's camera ranges through and around the atrocities, although one doubts that a steady cam was available. By the end Florya is isolated from humanity, technically as well as mentally, by a striking shot that excludes the middle foreground. Disturbingly expressionistic though these scenes are, others such as the scene where Florya and the partisan girl Rose visit the forest after the bombing, achieve an eerie lyricism that are however entirely missing from the Hollywood production. And whereas Spielberg's work concludes with a dramatic irony that's perhaps a little too neat, contrived for different audience tastes, Klimov's less accommodating epic finishes on a unique, cathartic moment - no doubt partly chosen to avoid any bathos after events just witnessed, but one which sends real blame back generations.

Hallucinatory, heartrending, traumatic and uncompromising, such a movie will not to be all tastes. It certainly does not make for relaxing viewing, although those who see it often say it remains with them for years after. This was Klimov's last film for, as he said afterwards "I lost interest in making films. Everything that was possible I felt had already been done," no doubt referring to the emotional intensity of his masterpiece, which would be hard to top. By the end of their own viewing, any audience ought to be shocked enough to pick up a rifle themselves and vengefully join the home army setting out to fight the Great Patriotic War - a necessarily stalwart response without limit of participation, symbolised by the director who tracks a camera through the dense forest before finally rejoining a column of soldiers heading to the front. If you feel, like I do, that any real war film should succeed in conveying the power and pity of it all, then Come And See is an absolute go and watch
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars COME AND SEE (Elem Klimov,1985) released by RUSCICO, May 20, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Come and See (DVD)
In 1943 Byelorussia, Florya (Aleksei Kravchenko), a 14-year-old boy who is eager to fight the Germans, goes off to join the Russian army, against the pleadings of his mother. But the regiment makes him stay behind at the camp, and he wanders off on his own, joined by a peasant girl (Olga Mironova). Rendered partially deaf by aerial bombardment, and evading capture from German paratroopers, he tries to return home, but fate guides him to a band of partisans, after which his journey leads him ever deeper into the inferno of the Nazi invasion.
The picture's rigorously subjective style, hallucinatory imagery, and refusal to soften or glamorize the realities of war, makes it something of a milestone in the Soviet World War II film, a genre distinguished, at its best, by a sense of grief over the great tragedy of that conflict, which killed an estimated twenty million Russians. In Byelorussia, the Germans systematically wiped out hundreds of towns, rounding men, women, and children into barns and burning them alive. By depicting these horrific events through the eye of a naive boy, Klimov gives them immediacy, elevating them above the mere recounting of historical fact into the heightened realm of an actual witnessing, where they appear strange, grotesque, and unbearable.
Kravchenko's almost wordless performance is riveting. Over the course of the film we see his face become aged beyond his years, hardening into a mask of fear and trauma that reflects every atrocity he has seen and endured. The film is constantly directing our attention to people's faces, their expressions, their stares and glances, which visually emphasizes the fact that all these horrors are happening to people, to someone, the unutterable limits of inhumanity experienced in the souls and feelings of living beings. Klimov doesn't let the viewer detach to contemplate psychology or motivation, but brings us down to the stark level of survival, where his young protagonist lives.
Sometimes the images are lyrical, as in the brilliant sequence in a forest where Florya and the girl are hiding. The girl dances in the rain, a stork wanders through a clearing -- the beauty is tinged with fear and ominous foreboding. When Florya is deafened, the movie's soundtrack is muffled, and the music and sound effects express his disorientation and maddening inability to connect with what's going on around him. At key moments, Klimov always chooses an unexpected image or shot, startling us out of ordinary perception and keeping us on edge, as in the scene when Florya and a partisan are stealing a cow and come under fire, and we suddenly see a close-up of the cow's eye, another uncomprehending creature subjected to the merciless insanity of this world.
Come and See (even the title alludes to our role as witnesses, willing or not) is a deeply unsettling experience. This is a film designed to shake you to the core of your being, a vision of what life looks like when all we know and cherish is savagely uprooted, when love and morality are ripped away and humans turn into beasts. In one of the film's most daring flourishes, Florya vents his rage on a symbol -- a picture of Hitler -- and with each gunshot Klimov moves the newsreel images of history backwards, undoing in fantasy what can never be undone, until we are left with the haunting face of a child. The shooting stops; we can never go back, but we will never -- should never -- forget.
P.S. To watch the movie preview video clip you can on russianDVD.com website for free.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, July 22, 2003
By 
Tom Munro "tomfrombrunswick" (Melbourne, Victoria Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Come and See (DVD)
After you see the first couple of scenes of this film you wonder if you are watching the work of a surrealist. The story fragments do not seem to connect and the characters are hardly appealing or even understandable. However as the film moves on the story emerges.
The film is set in German occupied Russia in 1943. A young boy joins the partisans but is deafened and disorientated by a bombing attack. He wanders around moving towards his own village. Around him moves a group of German SS troops leaving carnage as they massacre the women children and elderly men in the villages. You do not see the Germans till the last part of the film but their presence is everywhere.
The climax of the film is his meeting with the SS unit as it moves into and destroys a village. In the end the film is one of the most gripping and realistic portraits of war ever made. The film has no heroes, there is no message yet the film captures you in its intensity. None of the characters are attractive and the feeling is one of realism.
In the last few years a number of films have been made about combat on the Eastern Front. For instance Enemy at the Gates and Stalingrad. Both films look like sanitised television shows by comparison. The film is both effective as a work of art and also of a portrait of the reality of a brutal conflict.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless, Unforgettable Masterpiece, January 7, 2002
This review is from: Come and See (DVD)
Throughout the entire history of cinema there are only a handful of films that have managed to realistically and graphically illustrate the true horror that is War. Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" obviously immediately springs to mind (along with the TV mini-series companion piece "Band Of Brothers") but the majority, even the most accomplished in other respects, don't quite deliver the cerebral body blow that screams out imploringly - "this is insanity!"
Elem Klimov's stunning Come And See is not only a landmark within its genre but is also a cinematic masterpiece and possibly the ultimate WWII film. It is draining both physically and emotionally and time will not diminish its impact upon the first-time viewer. In just under two and a half hours Klimov creates an unending tapestry of exquisite, almost lyrical, poeticism even when depicting the most brutal of atrocities mankind can inflict on his fellow being. The film is all the more affecting because of this. A beautiful girl's impromptu ballet in the rain and an SS unit's indifferent smugness and celebration at their own butchery blitz the senses. Working on a variety of levels, the film can be taken as a personal statement of innocence lost as well as the broader metaphor of being a relentlessly brutal condemnation of War.
Florya is a twelve-year-old boy living in 1943 Byelorussia. Having recovered an abandoned gun, he gleefully joins a group of Russian partisans fighting the Nazi's, the naivety of his youth making it all seem like an exciting adventure. That is until the reality of his situation confronts him head-on when he becomes separated from his unit during a paratroop attack. Struck deaf by the Nazi artillery, he stumbles across Glasha, a pretty peasant girl also displaced, and together the pair wander their way across the brutalised Russian landscape back to his village.
Here they find only a mass of dead bodies, everyone having been slaughtered including Florya's mother and younger sisters. Their subsequent search for food draws them to a neighbouring village where they witness the Nazis massacre the populace either by machine-gunning or being driven into a barn that is subsequently torched.
The film is a traumatising epic on the absolute horror of War that, once viewed, will remain in your subconscious forever - a timeless, unforgettable masterpiece.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 222 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Come & See
Come & See by Elem Klimov (DVD - 2003)
$29.98 $17.96
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.