Film Reviews by JF

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Gulag: Forgotten Prisoners of WWII

Long, drawn out, and utterly unconvincing

(Edit) 16/09/2019

Having received many accolades and depicting what should have been a fascinating survival story of one of many almost forgotten terrors in WW11, I looked forward to viewing this. I was expecting a film on par with "The way back" or a technically improved "Gulag" of 1985. Just so disappointed. Given all the great books depict how harsh life in any Gulags could be, the severity of the weather, the lack of food, clothing and other resources, the infamous pitilessness of the guards - this portrayal was simply not credible. Yes, Gulag was in a isolated spot, and the clothing was not new but they all looked pretty healthy - even those being left to die "int transition". The inconsistencies of apparent isolation yet access to certain products, the "kind" (in relative terms) actions of guards, the lack of brutality or regular death, the unconvincing emotion between the two main characters. People died from exhaustion, disease, hunger, abuse and brutality in these places - yet none of this really came across. It was a poor, superficial portrayal of a desperately inhumane situation, conveying little of the depth of suffering those sent there endured. The film dragged from one interminable scene to another, regularly passing back and forth from close ups of the two main characters "connecting" with their eyes. I watched until the end out of sheer determination. If you are interested in this as a subject - read one of the many well written books or watch other, far better, films that can really capture the horrors, humanity and your own emotions.

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