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.