Children Of Glory
- Tom Dawson
- 13 March 2008
Made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the doomed Hungarian uprising against Soviet rule in 1956 (which cost some 5000 lives including that of the executed prime minister Imre Nagy), director Krisztina Goda’s Children of Glory offers an old-fashioned, melodramatic account of those tragic events.
Based on a story by Basic Instinct writer Joe Eszterhas, and produced by fellow Hungarian ex-pat Andrew Vajna (Rambo, Die Hard with a Vengeance), Children of Glory unsurprisingly privileges action and spectacle over analysis and moral ambiguity. Its hero is the strapping, handsome Karcsi (Ivan Fenyo), the nation’s star water polo player, who is ticked off by the secret police after his involvement in a post-match brawl with his cheating Russian opponents. Swiftly falling in love with a beautiful student leader Viki (Kata Dobo), he finds himself swept up in the protests in Budapest against communist oppression, thus risking his dreams of a gold medal at that year’s Melbourne Olympics.
Filled with schematic supporting characters, the solidly acted Children of Glory is at his best in its visual recreation of the attempted revolution: the scenes depicting thousands taking to the city streets and the later counter-offensive spearheaded by Russian tanks have a powerful dramatic sweep. And Goda reminds us how because of the simultaneous Suez crisis, Western countries shamefully turned a blind eye to Hungarian suffering.
Cineworld Renfrew Street, Glasgow and selected release from Fri 21 Mar.