Friday, October 25, 2013

Director Garrett Batty receives a high rank in my book for taking on a timely, yet stunning topic. The Saratov Approach focuses on the 1998 kidnapping of two Mormon Missionaries in Russia.

There are a few amazing elements to this film. One was the performances. Knowing many of the actors personally, it is usually difficult to take the performances seriously. But there was not much in the way of bad performances. Especially coming from Corbin Allred and Maclain Nelson, who made wonderful missionaries.

After seeing two missionaries living their daily life serving in Russia, they are led to an apartment where one member of a group of terrorists pretends to want to hear the Gospel. Instead they are ransacked and held hostage for five days in order for the leader of the group, performed by Alex Veadov, to gets his ransom from the church of $300,000. Watch as Kidnapped Missionaries share their experience 3:03 minutes here.

The days grow long as no ransom is paid and the missionaries faith is challenged, including the families back in the United States.

I am not sure the accuracy of the film based on real life events, that is always hard to translate without taking a few creative liberties in writing the script. But there was a good mix of faith and story-telling. It would almost be safe to put The Saratov Approach in the "faith-based" film rather then narrowed to a "Mormon" film.

There were only two draw backs. One was the shaky camerawork. The handheld camera was making me dizzy, especially during the slow moments, the camera didn't need to shake SO much. The second was there were a few moments of long disposition. That did seem to just fill in the space to drag on the danger that, at the moment, just didn't seem to be there. The dream sequence was slightly cliche.

And finally, just as a comment, the editing technique of starting the film with the almost climax point of the story, and then moving to the beginning of the story, is becoming a trick that even Hollywood, with all it's money and talent, still performs. It works in The Saratov Approach, but soon, it will be considered an older form of storytelling.

The film was overall a wonderful piece of faith mixed in with entertainment and history. Alex Veadov was also wonderful, I enjoyed him in Act of Valor, and he continued his wonderful hostage-taking abilities in this film.

Saratov Approach is also another example of how stars weren't needed to make a film show success. I have noticed this film getting notoriety on a national level as another "little film that could" moment, but I feel you will see people more and more hungry for those moments. The notion that you have to have stars to make a great film is slowly coming to an end (just my opinion, but that's a discussion for another time)

Currently, The Saratov Approach is in select theaters and is growing. Ask for it. It is rated PG-13 for some violence and rough situations, but I feel is safe enough to take the whole family. Watch the trailer and judge for yourself.  'The Saratov Approach' Trailer | Moviefone

Article By: Kels Goodman SuperDad of 2 and 3 bonus children


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