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Star, The - DVD review (2 stars)

The Star

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(15) 97min (Nouveaux Pictures DVD retail)

WAR

This is a disappointing Russian WWII film about a team of ‘scouts’ sent on a very risky mission behind German lines to check out the enemy’s equipment and tactics. Selling itself as a film in the tradition of Elem Klimov’s great war film Come and See (it shares an actor and comes from the same studio), the film captures less the horror of war than the cinematic clichés of it. There is the greenhorn translator who has to confront death; the ragbag team on a mission, and too many scenes where we ‘suspensefully’ wonder if the scouts will be caught, whether found hiding in bushes or in the back of a truck. This is all very efficiently done, but like many recent Russian films (from Bratan to A Driver for Vera) there is a clear sense of commercial ends over aesthetic means. So comparisons to Klimov’s masterwork are invidious. Extras include interview with producer Karen Shakhnazarov, interview with director Nikolai Lebedev and deleted scenes.

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