The Star

Seen at the Melbourne International Film Festival, 28th July 2003

The title of this movie comes from the call sign of a Russian reconnaissance unit that has been given a mission deep behind enemy lines in a vital stage of the war (I preferred the German name of "the Green Ghosts" that they were given in the reports of the efforts to find them.)

While this movie has been compared to Saving Private Ryan, I think it is a lot better as it isn't an all out gore fest and the characters and situations seem to be more realistic. I particularly liked the demonstration of the effectiveness of the camouflage gear that the party was wearing as you really couldn't see them in some shots unless they moved.

It also attempted to portray the brutal unfairness of war in the hand-to-hand combat engagements and other times where even a cute puppy can lead to your death.

Some of the characters at headquarters seemed a bit unnecessary however as they didn't really add that much to the story. It was good to see a different side to the story though by showing how dedicated the radio operators were at the forward base.

The music also fitted well and helped to build tension in some of the scenes, especially when the hunt for the group intensifies. Also adding to the tension where the German reports of their movements which always ended with "they must be liquidated".

Overall I thought this film was an excellent and I raise a glass of Vodka to toast it's fallen heroes and the millions that died defending Russia as the movie points out.