Prisoner of the Mountains
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Top Customer Reviews
Taking place in Chechnya, it has the same Central Asian rugged terrain that we've seen in recent news stories of Afghanistan, one of the many reasons that makes this an interesting film to view...a glimpse into what is an enigmatic part of the world for most of us.
The cinematography (Pavel Lebeshev) and soundtrack (Leonid Desyatnikov) are marvelous, and the performances perfect. How director Sergei Bodrov managed to get such fine acting from the local villagers (like Susanna Mekhalieva, who plays "Dina"), is a marvel. As the two soldiers tied by fate, he cast his son, Sergei Bodrov Jr., and Oleg Menshikov (who was so brilliant in "Burnt by the Sun"), and they are superb.
Losely based on Tolstoy's tale for children, "Prisoner of the Caucausus", it's a film full of compassion and love, and has plot subtleties that make this rare gem of a film deserve several viewings.
An Americanized audience may have trouble with this movie. One of the most frequent complaints I hear is that it is 'slow moving.' It is true that since the film is character driven, there are many long scenes of contemplation, just watching the character's face to see his reaction to something. And while that may appear 'boring' to an audience accustomed to something blowing up every couple minutes, it does really make you appreciate and sympathize with the characters.
This DVD is in the original Russian with English subtitles. I was overjoyed at this because many of my favorite foreign films can only be bought here in a dubbed version, and those just never do justice to the originals. The only extra on the disk is the English trailer.
If you want to see a really good movie and don't mind reading subtitles, watch this one.
One of the most effective film techniques used by the Euros and Russians are the avoidance of close-ups in favor of medium shots, which allow the actors to say more with their bodies and which at the same time places them within a socio-historical context. I have yet to see a scene more moving than the one in which the two Russian soldiers, apparently having been abandoned in captivity by their own government, pass the time by dancing to the American spiritual "Let My People Go." Anyone who can remain dry-eyed during that sequence should ask the Wizard of Oz for a heart.
In powerful yet beautifully understated performances, the entire cast fills the viewer with a sense of the strength of humanity. Truly a masterpiece!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A candidate for one of the top films of all time! I have watched my DVD three times, and I think I need to watch it three more, at least, before I see all the things I need to see... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Ancient Bookworm
Good enough story plot. Keeps you interested. The ghosts have a sense of humour. Different sort of film.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This movies is simply classic in its themes. At the same time it is so immediate and unique in the setting and the plot. I bought it to share with my friends. Read morePublished on October 7, 2013 by Carol B. Rice
A fascinating account of national and religious conflicts in post-Soviet Russia. The film well illustrates the limits of the changes in the new Russia as well as the inevitability... Read morePublished on June 2, 2013 by S B DAVIS
The film is not happy- but then it is Russian, so you should expect that. It is set in the first Chechan war and two Russian soldiers are captured to ransom a Chechan school... Read morePublished on May 11, 2013 by Kenneth Petty
A story of the Russian war in Afghanistan told in a way so you can see the conflict from both sides. The acting is great and the story is good and well worth your time to see.Published on March 28, 2013 by SSP
There is an innate fatalism in Russian movies, and tragedy is guaranteed. This movie is no exception. Read morePublished on November 17, 2012 by Kafishna
If I could I would put this movie at just below 4 stars. It was really nice photography and I enjoyed the representation of the culture. Read morePublished on September 2, 2012 by eaglebear
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