Stalingrad: What You Need To Know
Coming to the UK next week on Blu-Ray & DVD is Stalingrad. Not to be confused with Joseph Vilsmaier’s 1993 German-language film of the same name, Stalingrad is the 2013 film by Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk telling the story of an unlikely romance in the midst of the war-torn Russian city during WWII. It’s also the first Russian movie to be completely produced using IMAX 3D technology, so you can bet it’s going to look good. Here’s everything you need to know…
Who’s in it?
Being a Russian production, the film’s cast will be largely unknown to most westerners, with the exception of those of you who are connoisseurs of Russian cinema, although some of you may recognise Thomas Kretschmann from films such as The Pianist and Resident Evil: Apocalypse. The cast list also includes Russian actresses Yanina Studilina and Mariya Smolnikova in starring roles.
What’s the plot?
Set during the Battle of Stalingrad in the middle of the Second World War, the story centres on a platoon of Russian soldiers tasked with defending a strategically important building from the advancing German army. The battle is widely regarded as one of the bloodiest in the history of modern warfare, and the film is packed with scenes of destruction and close-quarters combat.
A band of Russian reconnaissance troops must hold a building from the Nazis in order to allow their comrades to cross the nearby Volga River, as well providing a place of shelter for Russian civilians. During the siege, Captain Khan (Kretschmann) falls in love with Masha (Studilina), one of the Russian women being sheltered in the building. Wartime romances often end badly though, so will Khan and Masha survive the ordeal?
Does it deliver?
On a visual level, Stalingrad is absolutely epic. Designed specifically to be viewed in IMAX cinemas in 3D, the battle scenes are huge, explosive affairs and the cinematography is jaw-droppingly beautiful in places, so for those of you in possession of a 3D tv this is well worth a look.
There’s a bit of a question over who this film is aimed at though. On the one hand it’s a big, explosive war film with scenes of gruesome violence that would probably appeal to war flick enthusiasts, but in terms of the plot it’s the romance story which ends up competing with, rather than complimenting, the story of the actual battle itself.
That said, if you’re on the lookout for a beautifully shot and choreographed war film that offers something a little bit different from your usual cannon fodder, this may just be the film for you.