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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A partly succesful attempt to make another "The name of the rose" amongst Spanish fascists on Eastern front in February 1943...
I liked this quite unique and well made Spanish film, although it was ultimately less brilliant than what suggested by some of web reviews I read before buying it. Below, some more of my impressions, with limited SPOILERS.

This is, I believe, the first movie ever made about the Blue Division (Division Espanola de Voluntarios or Division Azul), also known as 250...
Published 10 months ago by Maciej

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Looks good but is ultimately underwhelming.
Whilst the film deserves a lot of credit for production values etc it fails upon the fact that ultimately the film is pretty boring. Its a well shot film, looks the part and the actors do a fine job. But the film just plods on whilst reaching a fairly dull conclusion based upon a fairly absurd and highly unlikly plot device.

The film takes on the whodunnit...
Published 6 months ago by godzilla78


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A partly succesful attempt to make another "The name of the rose" amongst Spanish fascists on Eastern front in February 1943..., 27 May 2013
By 
Maciej "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Frozen Silence [DVD] (DVD)
I liked this quite unique and well made Spanish film, although it was ultimately less brilliant than what suggested by some of web reviews I read before buying it. Below, some more of my impressions, with limited SPOILERS.

This is, I believe, the first movie ever made about the Blue Division (Division Espanola de Voluntarios or Division Azul), also known as 250 Infantry Division of Wehrmacht. This 18.000 men strong unit was created by order of Franco in June 1941 and fought on Eastern front on German side from end of September 1941 to its withdrawal by Franco in October 1943. Even after that, no less than 3.000 Spanish volunteers refused to obey and formed a smaller unit, called Legion Espanola de Voluntarios, but mostly known as Blue Legion - there were even new volunteers who came to join them! In March 1944 Franco ordered all remaining Spanish volunteers to return to Spain under pain of drastic sanctions and most of them obeyed, but about 500 remained.

Those die hard veterans regrouped mostly in two Spanish companies of Waffen SS, attached succesively to SS divisions "Wallonien" and "Nordland". Some small groups and individuals served also after March 1944 in Wehrmacht units, including the elite Brandenburg division. A group of about 50 Spanish volunteers serving in Waffen SS commanded by Hauptsturmfuhrer Miguel Ezquerra fought even to the bitter end in Berlin battle in April-May 1945. In all during the World War II the victorious Red Army made prisoner 372 Spanish volunteers, most of them in 1945 - they were all send to gulag concentration camps in all kind of unpleasant places. 286 survivors were finally released in 1954.

"Frozen silence" takes place integrally in a couple of days in February 1943, when the Blue Division was still a powerful unit, fighting along Germans on Leningrad front - this is why on the cover of the DVD you can read "Leningrad 1943. The bloodiest siege in history". Although no dates are given, the last day is clearly 10 February, because it shows the beginning of a massive Soviet counter-offensive, operation "Polar Star" which attempted to break the siege of Leningrad (it failed). It was during this campaign that Blue Division fought at Krasny Bor (10-13 February 1943) its greatest battle. All furious attacks by Soviet armor and infantry were ultimately repulsed and Red Army suffered horrible losses for no territorial gain at all - but hundreds of Spanish volunteers also died. It seems that it was after this battle that Hitler was heard to say "Spaniards are the only tough Latins I know"...

Now, returning to the film itself, it is important to precise that this is NOT REALLY A WAR MOVIE. War is of course the always present background, a tank rolls by from time to time, some mortar shells land here and there occasionally and yes, there is the very short battle sequence at the very end, but other than that no fighting is shown. In fact, it is a war time thriller focused on a criminal mystery, but also seizing this occasion to show a gallery of characters composing the Blue Division and showing the daily life of Spanish volunteers on Eastern Front.

The criminal mystery begins with the discovery (in the first minute of the film) of the frozen corpse of a Spanish volunteer, who was clearly murdered (his throat was cut wide open). On the chest of the dead man somebody cut a message in perfectly ortographed Spanish "Be careful, God watches you". Puzzled and concerned by the possibility that there is a deranged killer on the lose amongst soldiers, the commander of the Division gives the task of investigating this grizzly murder to a certain Arturo Andrade, an experienced and gifted police inspector in his earlier life, who now serves (for reasons which will not be fully disclosed) as Private 2nd class in Blue Division.

That covers the first two minutes of the film and about the rest I will say just that the criminal mystery is indeed well thought and it is not possible to fully understand what is going on until the masks are dropped in the final moments of the film. The identity of the perpetrator is very well concealed and he seems for a long time so terrifying, elusive and clever as John Doe from "Seven"...

The strong point of this film is in the climate of deep mystery, which at one moment seems to touch almost to the supernatural (but do not panic, this is NOT a horror film or a ghost story) and by moments reminded me strongly of "The name of the rose" with the lone investigator (and his sidekick) digging deeper and deeper in some very, very sinister secrets amongst a quite unique community of men (however no killing book is involved here)...

The images of the Eastern Front and of the daily life of Spanish soldiers are very well done. There is also a very powerful and absolutely nightmarish (and I am certain totally unrealistic) scene in which some soldiers play Russian roulette in front of a large crow of gamblers...

However, the ending of the film left me unsatisfied as some questions remained totally not-answered. Also, the way the investigator finally finds the solution has "deus ex machina" written all over it...

But still, I am quite glad that I bought and watched this extremely unusual and well made film. Recommended more as a thriller than as a war film, but nevertheless recommended. Its memory will certainly stay with you for some time...
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An original and superb thriller, 8 Jan 2013
By 
JPS - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Just before Christmas, I came across this Spanish film from Gerardo Herrero, adapted from one of Ignacio del Valle's books. The action takes place on the Russian front in 1943 within the Azul division made up of 18000 Spanish volunteers, mostly supporters of Franco, whom the Spanish dictator had sent out as a display of his commitment to the fight against communism and to reciprocate the support that he had received from Hitler during the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939.

One fine frozen morning, one of their patrols discovers the body of a Spanish soldier whose throat has been cut with a cryptic sentence carved out on his chest. The Spanish command selects Arturo Andrade, a Spanish soldier who happens to be a police inspector, to investigate this crime, believing that the murder might be inspired by Communists. Other similar murders will follow and, when Andrade gets to the bottom of it, the truth is rather surprising.

Despite being in Spanish (with English subtitles), I very much enjoyed this film, one of the bets thrillers that I have been given to see in a very long time. The suspense is quite breath taking. The atmosphere - a mixture of suspicion and despair, including between supposed German and Spanish allies - is very well captured. The whole film "feels and sounds" realistic and it is easy to imagine how it could have been inspired by a true story. You empathize with the main character (or at least I did) who is no super hero but just an ordinary soldier who, because of his qualifications as a civilian, gets handed a rather impossible task.

There are some rather superb scenes and fantastic pictures, including one of horses that have frozen to death in a lake, where the first body is discovered. An air raid from Russian aircraft and a ground assault by the Red Army against elements of the Azul Division are also among the best scenes, although there are about half a dozen others that I can think about. There is no "happy ending" here, something which is hardly surprising given the context. The story takes place in early 1943 (probably in February) at the time the Red Army counter-attacked and tried to break the siege of Leningrad and after they had trapped and destroyed the German 6th Army at Stalingrad. I will however stop here to avoid any spoilers.

Well worth five stars
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Looks good but is ultimately underwhelming., 2 Oct 2013
By 
godzilla78 (northern ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Frozen Silence [DVD] (DVD)
Whilst the film deserves a lot of credit for production values etc it fails upon the fact that ultimately the film is pretty boring. Its a well shot film, looks the part and the actors do a fine job. But the film just plods on whilst reaching a fairly dull conclusion based upon a fairly absurd and highly unlikly plot device.

The film takes on the whodunnit slant, with members of the what's left of the Spanish army in Russia being murdered for a particular purpose. The deceased have a message carved into their chest which only adds to the mystery. Stir in a heavy dose of Spanish wartime politics and mistrust of others, the waters only appear to get muddier. Eventually the pieces begin to come together to an underwhelming conclusion. Whilst looking incredibly crisp and authentic and featuring strong performances, the film slows down to the point that even the viewer may decide "who cares". And without giving away any spoilers, one certain plot device linked to one of the dead soldiers is beyond the realms of stupidity to say the least.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film, 30 Jan 2014
By 
PSMorris (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frozen Silence [DVD] (DVD)
Watched this Spanish film using the English subtitles . it was a different kind of very interesting film with a number of good sub plots. One to watch again as most very good films tend to be.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent well made movie, 23 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Frozen Silence [DVD] (DVD)
This is an excellent movie, with a good and original story line, and some good acting. Don't be put off by the Spanish language; the English subtitles are fine (if a little in accurate). It is the uniqueness of this movie that makes it difficult to predict - a pleasure for a good thriller.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A murder mystery in wartime, 13 April 2014
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This review is from: Frozen Silence [DVD] (DVD)
Who would have thought that the premise of murder mystery in wartime would work but it does. Great acting from all players, and the special effects are well done. Great story, and a really good film. Would recommend to all who appreciate good films.
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5.0 out of 5 stars spanish modern classic, 23 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Frozen Silence [DVD] (DVD)
greatly enjoyable. suspenseful and clever script. good acting and effects and the characters believable. better still if you can understand spanish.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Spanish crime drama, but manuscript flawed, 22 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Frozen Silence [DVD] (DVD)
- Spoiler Alert –

If you love B-movies, about criminal investigations, and aren’t too picky about details, then you will like this Spanish crime drama.

The plot: In 1943 a serial killer is on the loose, among the Spanish soldiers (the so called Blue Division - Division Espanola de Voluntarios) who are fighting alongside the Germans against the Russian on the Eastern front. The only clue is a part of Spanish nursery rhyme that is carved into the chest of the victims.

The private Arturo Andrade, a former police inspector, is ordered to investigate the case. The problem? The Blue Division consists of around 18.000 men, and the task is seemingly impossible. It is also extremely difficult for Arturo, being a private, to investigate a crime within the military hierarchy, during wartime.

Arturo tries his best , and slowly manages to gather the evidence he needs. Here in lies the flaw of the manuscript; the clues come a bit too cheap. One scene - where Arturo scours through mail inside a truck which is driven at full speed - is particularly awkward. The end is also not the typical CSI-end (we found the killer and sent him to jail).

Despite these flaws, I must admit that I enjoyed this movie and recommend it to those who like B-crime dramas.

Lastly, I must say that I have my doubts about the quality of the Spanish-to-English translation. I had difficulties following some of the conversations, and got the feeling that the translation was not completely up to snuff.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very little action but enjoyed it, 8 Mar 2014
By 
Neil Armstrong (sunderland ,NE ENGLAND) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frozen Silence [DVD] (DVD)
As i say very little action but i really enjoyed this film.I always go for a good action film plenty of action ,blood and guts,
This film certainly isn,t one of these but the quality of uniform,vehicles and scenery are first class.Its a who dunnit film set on the eastern front outside Leningrad ,concerning a murderer in the Spanish Blue Division.
Enough said i liked it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Oh what a lovely war, 20 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Frozen Silence [DVD] (DVD)
Good acting and special effects make this film well worth watching. The plot was a little thin in places but does not detract from the overall impression.
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Frozen Silence [DVD]
Frozen Silence [DVD] by Gerardo Herrero (DVD - 2013)
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