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3.9 out of 5 stars
Edge of War (DVD)
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
This is not a war film and as such once again we have been mis-sold a film previously released, this was made in 2010 and was called `The Edge', which could be a reference to the protagonists living on the edge of civilisation or the end of something. This is just after the end of WW 2 and is based in a Siberian labour camp, where collaborators of the Germans have been sent to pay for their crimes to the Motherland. Then Ignat (Vladimir Mashkov) arrives as a returning war hero but just wants to drive the steam locomotives, and try to shake off the shell shock he has fallen victim too and will use morphine or in the case of the labour camp, moonshine to help with the pain. He immediately gets on the wrong side of everyone and steals the woman of Stepan who is the current train driver. It is obvious his resentment will soon boil over.

After a fall from grace Ignat takes off to an uninhabited island where he finds an abandoned train and some feral woman who lives in it. To say much more could be plot spoiler. This is a very gritty film that is shot absolutely beautifully by Yuri Klimenko using some inventive camera angles and showing the trains as almost living breathing animals in some scenes. The music score is also rather good and was done by Irish composer David Holmes. This was actually nominated for the Golden Globe best foreign picture award, so clearly was objectively seen as having merit. There is loads of soviet politicising, the conditions are shown warts and all and the extras are all brilliant. The central performances too are quite amazing and the love story that weaves its way into the film comes across as completely believable.

Fans of steam trains will enjoy this as the locomotives are central to the whole story and their fate is linked inexorably to that of the players. Where this falls down is the naked attempt by New Horizon Films to sell this as a war film. The cover says `The action scenes are epic', there are no battle scenes at all as the war is at an end. There are no planes, no rampaging soldiers and no explosions; there is a lot of steam so that is the only representative part of the film depicted here. It is a shame as this means it will attract the wrong audience and miss the correct one. I watch a broad spectrum of foreign and World cinema and so appreciated it for what it is hence my rating, if I were a hardened war film fan this would probably get 1 star due to frustration.

In Russian and German with good sub titles for the most part except that is for the German, where we have some woman speaking the translation in Russian, so if your German is no good then you will miss some of the dialogue. Why this was done is beyond me and it nearly cost a star. If you want a love story on the extremes of existence then you will want to see this, if you want a war film then please do not even think about it.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2013
Marketing these days often produces misleading DVD covers which do not reflect the film content. This is one example. However, this is a wonderful drama which shows Stalinist Russia at its worst & best. The Soviet system had no confidence in the loyalty of comrades. Russian POW's & labourers under Nazi rule were assumed to be traitors & punished accordingly after the war ended. This film is about such people & their harsh Siberian exile. The film captures the physical conditions well & gives us a set of interesting characters & a meandering plot which is entirely believable. Lovers of steam trains will have plenty to drool over. The screenplay, acting & photography are all excellent. Some knowledge of the Nazi-Soviet Pact would help an understanding of the story. This is an uplifting tale of human nature at its best where comrades use their isolation to create an alternative communism with a human face. The individualism of the main protagonist contrasts with the conformity demanded by the system. There is much humour to relieve the dramatic tension. A fine example of post-Soviet Russian film-making which allows ordinary Russians to kick against the system. Probably a bit too romantic but it is a feature film which aims to entertain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Please note that this review discusses details of the plot.

The Russian title of the film translates as "Border". It's more than a geographical boundary:
It is the bitter dividing line between Soviet and German people, who were deeply scarred
by the most terrible conflict in human history.
The film is a complex character drama of searing physical and emotional pain.
Above and beyond this, it is the unexpected, and redeeming love story of a Soviet soldier
and a German girl. The director's glance is tender and insightful, and frequently humorous.
There are several instances of slapstick, involving a big brown bear.
Several battered, yet imposing steam locomotives are very important inanimate characters
in the film. These machines are inextricably fused with the ego of the main male characters.
Most male conflicts are resolved through these locomotives-either with speed races or head-on
collisions.

In the last months of the Soviet-German "Non-Aggression" pact, a German engineer,
his daughter Elsa, and his son, visit a remote railhead in Siberia.
When a bridge is partially damaged by ice floes, these Germans are accused of sabotage.
"Fishman", the local NKVD major, shoots the engineer and his son, but Elsa escapes.
She is a plucky and resourceful girl, and she manages to survive alone in the taiga.
Superstitious locals think that she is undead.

Several years later, Germany has been crushed. The railhead has become a settlement
of internally exiled people-who were suspected of collaboration
with the Germans. Sergeant Gnasha is a decorated veteran, who was transferred here
to be forgotten. He used to be an esteemed engineer, but he crashed the prized
"Joseph Stalin" locomotive. He received a head injury, and he suffers from debilitating
seizures. Gnasha's passion for locomotives is undiminished.
Restless in this godforsaken corner, he explores the taiga.
Beyond the aforementioned damaged bridge, he discovers Elsa, and a rusting, abandoned
locomotive. Elsa speaks only German, while Gnasha speaks only Russian.
After several fights, they settle down to repairing the locomotive.
Elsa has considerable engineering skills, and she guides the makeshift repairs of the
damaged bridge. Gradually, Elsa and Gnasha come to depend and care for each other.
When they use the repaired locomotive to return to the settlement,
they get a hostile reaction: Even the victims of Stalin's paranoia distrust
and hate all Germans. NKVD major "Fishman" arrests Elsa, intending to ship her
to a POW camp-a near certain death sentence. In the final locomotive duel,
Gnasha outraces and wrecks "Fishman"'s engine.
He frees Elsa, and they escape for a new life-under assumed identities.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2013
Warning! This film has been advertised as a scope 2:35:1 film which it is. However, on buying it and checking it out earlier today, I discovered it had been cropped to 1:85:1 to fit wide-screen TV's. It's trailer remains in the correct 2:35:1 ratio. Why do DVD companies still do this despite the numerous protestations from purchasers about cropping scope films. When we buy a film on DVD, we want to see it in it's original aspect ratio. Is that too much to ask for!
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on 8 December 2014
Interesting and good film set in post WW2 Russia. Thankfully not too many clichés here. Thoughtful
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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2013
Bought this movie to watch on a Saturday night for lack of anything else to do. It was rubbish and a complete waste of money. The box depicts 'Epic Action' scenes and illustrates German Troops and aircraft. There are no action scenes, German Troops or aircraft but I watched it through to the end which couldn't come quick enough. It is more a move for train spotters and certainly not recommended.
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on 22 April 2015
Excellent film set after the war about a German left behind in Russia.
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on 18 March 2015
ok but more like a love film with trainspotters in it!
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on 19 July 2015
Nothing like the the picture, never saw a plane etc.
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on 15 November 2014
REALLY ENJOYED THIS FILM AS I AM A TRAIN BUFF
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