This subtitled Ukrainian action drama is set during the 2014 Russian invasion. Mykola (Aldoshyn Pavlo) is a pacifist physics professor, living off the grid with his wife in a hippie-style, zero carbon footprint isolated hut. They are deliriously happy until a brutal Russian patrol runs across them, mercilessly killing the wife and leaving him for dead. Big mistake. They turned a non-threatening, non-violent fellow into a grief-stricken determined resistance fighter, creating a hard-core killer from the least-likely raw material. After his understandably hapless start in boot camp, he found his niche as the eponymous sniper. Most of the running time is devoted to what he does as a sharpshooter.
Snipers must have a certain set of physical and emotional skills that have inspired scores of action films from many countries - especially the USA. Many have been glamorized or hyperbolized, starring the likes of a Wesley Snipes, Mark Wahlberg or Tom Berenger. Some have been fact-based, like Bradley Cooper's excellent American Sniper (2014). Ryan Phillipe headlined a TV series, Shooter, that ran for a couple of seasons. This one was shot on a relatively low budget, which actually works as an asset. The film has a gray, grainy look that replicates the crushingly oppressive reality of a country under long siege from a more powerful foe. There's less background music than usual, keeping the focus on the intense concentration and incredible patience required for this specialized form of duty. For an action film, there's relatively little action, as snipers must lie in wait, often for very long stretches without making any movements that could telegraph their position. The Russians had their own snipers, too, creating some cat-and-mouse situations with the stakes as high as they come. Director Marian Bushan masterfully puts us alongside our protagonists in the harsh landscape that comprises their arena.
Since the film is a Ukrainian production, Russians are presented as brutal foes with vastly superior resources, and complete lack of human decency. They are thugs with bigger guns. This one will never run in a Moscow theater, unless it's the one in Idaho. Mykola's comrades in arms are not glorified, but their mettle is shown to be quite admirable for underdogs in a lengthy struggle to defend their homeland. There's even recognition of the quislings among his fellow citizens, adding to the burdens of their resistance.
Since the renewed invasion of February, 2022, the film has become tragically more timely than its creators may have expected. It was probably meant as an homage and inspiration for those who did, and may have to, take up arms within their borders. But it now packs a worldwide punch. It's worth seeing not only as a gesture of support for Ukraine's ongoing struggles, but as a compelling personal and cultural drama on its own cinematic merits. And, for the subtitle-averse, don't be deterred. Dialog is minimal, so speed-reading will not be required.
Sniper. The White Raven
Drama / War
Sniper. The White Raven
Drama / War
Loading video, please wait...
Mykola is an eccentric pacifist who wants to be useful to humanity. When the war begins at Donbass, Mykola's naive world is collapsing as the militants kill his pregnant wife and burn his home to the ground. Recovered, he makes a cardinal decision and gets enlisted in a sniper company. Having met his wife's killers, he emotionally breaks down and arranges "sniper terror" for the enemy. He's saved from a senseless death by his instructor who himself gets mortally wounded. The death of a friend leaves a "scar" and Mykola is ready to sacrifice his life.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
July 27, 2022 at 04:00 AM