The Saratov Approach – Now Showing!!!

On October 21, 2013 by MMM

Now that the movie is in theaters, I figured I should repost my review.

Go see it! If you’ve already seen it, add your review below!


First, you need to watch this movie trailer.  I’ll wait…

Looks awesome, doesn’t it?  Guess what?  IT IS!

As you can tell from the preview, it is the story of two LDS missionaries who were kidnapped 15 years ago in Russia. It is a true story.

I was contacted by one of the people involved with this movie, and was invited to a preview screening in Utah this past week. I wanted to go, but I don’t live in Utah. Luckily, through the miracle of modern technology, they set me up with a private screening in the comfort of my own family room.  I feel so special!

Here is my take on The Saratov Approach:

I thought it was GREAT. So did my EC.  It was exciting, emotional, and riveting.  My hands got sweaty during one particular scene – which is a sure-fire indicator that it was thrilling.

The actors were convincing, and believable. The supporting “Russian” actors were terrific.  My only tiny quibble is that the missionaries seemed a litle older than they should be – but I get that. I don’t want to sound disrespectful to other projects, but this had a more “legit” feel to it than most other LDS films.

The cinematography was excellent. There was some use of hand-held camera, but not enough to be distracting, or sick-making. The bleakness of Russia and the Russian countryside was captured realistically.

The music fit perfectly, and was a great addition. Props to the composer.

Overall, I think it was the best LDS-market film I have seen yet.  (And no, I am not getting anything by endorsing it.) It was exciting and spiritual, and should not be confined to being an “LDS” film. Hopefully it can break through into a mainstream market – and I don’t see why it couldn’t.  I have watched movies about other religions being caught up in war, etc.  The story should work across any religious divide – especially now that Mormon missionaries are more visible that ever in real life and the media.

The best part was the story and script. The writer/director is Garrett Batty, and I think he nailed it. He found the balance between drama, and enlightenment.  There were scenes that made both my wife and I extremely uncomfortable – because we have a son serving a mission abroad.  But it also brought us to tears with wonderful spiritual discussions and moments. I won’t relate any of the to you, because they sneak up on you sometimes, and I’m no spoiler. But be sure to take some Kleenex with you to the theater.

I wouldn’t take kids younger than 10. (There is some violence, and guns and such.)  But PLEASE go see it, so that more movies like this can be made.  Movie will be a limited release in Utah on October 9th, and then spread from there.


12 Responses to “The Saratov Approach – Now Showing!!!”

  • Jocelyn

    Oh you ARE too cool for school!

  • The Queen Vee

    I had a son who served a mission in St Pete, Russia. I’m going to be in October, I think I may have to go and see this. Thanks for the review.

  • Love the new site. Will definitely utilize and share.

    This movie looks amazing. My brother served his mission in Yekatirinburg Russia around this same time, and while serving as AP he had two missionaries get kidnapped by the Moffia on him. Of course he didn’t tell us until he got home, for obvious reasons. The jr. companion had only been in the country two days, and since he couldn’t speak Russian they threw him out of the car. When he got up he realized that the place was familiar to him. It just happened to be right in front of the Sisters’ apartment where they had had district meeting the previous day. A few hours later the senior companion called the office from a pay phone. He had been interrogated but they decided he didn’t have any information they wanted or wasn’t a threat or something and so they beat him and left him in a nearby park. Scary stuff, but the Lord watches over his faithful and obedient missionaries.

  • Holly W

    Love MMM. Sure I’ll love Bonafide too! I checked out The Saratov Approach on IMBD and the “Russian” actors really are Russian. Can’t wait to see the movie!

  • Thanks for the review…I plan on seeing the movie but I’m so distracted by your lack of header image I can hardly concentrate…were did it go?

  • Oh, by the way, I have an ever-so-slight connection to this movie. My good friend is married to a man from Russia who built the confinement set and consulted on the language and is the voice for the Russian TV. I feel so famous :P

  • I can’t wait for this to come to my area.

  • Heather

    This movie is about my best friend’s uncle!!! I’m so excited!

  • Lisa

    When will this movie, Saratov Approach, come to AZ? Thank you! Can’t wait to see it!

    • MJM

      We will be at Harkins and Cinemark 16 in Mesa this Friday. Please come out to see the film there. The more people that see it in those two screens, will determine a wider release in AZ. Thanks for helping spread the word!!

  • Monique

    Arrr. Stop torturing me. It’s not showing here!!!

  • We just moved to a part of the country where I’m sure they will show this movie. I really want to see it… My husband was serving in the neighboring mission at the time this all happened! He has his share of stories–being chased by a man with a lead pipe, mafia encounters, etc.