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When in 1941 Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, their troops quickly besieged Leningrad. Foreign journalists are evacuated but one of them, Kate Davies, is presumed dead and misses the plane. Alone in the city she is helped by Nina Tsvetnova a young and idealist police officer and together they will fight for their own survival and the survival of the people in the besieged Leningrad. Written by
A satisfying Russian thriller made from a Hollywood mould
Russian filmmaker Aleksandr Buravsky seems to have been chasing Hollywood aesthetics his entire career. His 1995 film SACRED CARGO was filled with B-list American stars and seemed to hide its Russian roots, but with LENINGRAD (aka Attack on Leningard) he's finally got the budget and the balance right. Boasting a huge budget, it looks as good as any American World War 2 drama and stars Mira Sorvino, Gabriel Byrne and Armin Mueller-Stahl. But significantly this is not a film designed strictly to appeal to the international market, LENINGRAD is first and foremost a Russian film. Although at first it seems the Hollywood performers are just window dressing, that does seem to be the case with Byrne and Mueller-Stahl, Sorvino actually plays a key role and shares leading lady duties with native actress Olga Sutulova. Sorvino is a bit miscast as an English journalist (bad accent) stranded in the starving city of Leningard, but delivers a good performance and it's possibly the most credible of the myriad Hollywood Effect movies produced in Russia to date. An interesting story, strong production values and engaging performances make this very satisfying viewing. But those seeking typically macho fare should look elsewhere.
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