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3.8 out of 5 stars
White Tiger [DVD]
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61 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2013
A scenario like that in movies is a very rare encounter. Usually we see a scenario like that unfold in modern films, where soldiers use superior weapon technology's to battle elusive enemy's or terrorist's. Our protagonist Russian tank soldier N.
happens to be "stalked", having lost his T-34/85 Battle-tank crew twice. Having survived severe burns, barely healed, is obsessed to destroy this "mysterious" Tiger Tank, who seems to come from nowhere, destroying numbers of Soviet tanks in any given engagement. And now in the last few days of the war, May 1945, somewhere in Austria or Hungaria, it is happening again and again...
The new Russian Cinema seems to produce many such films, this one stands out, with a fresh angle and from perspectives viewers are not used to. There are no known formulas being used. The viewer should stay alert, there are some sub-plots and twisty turns, that you see not coming. A gritty story, unfolding at tranquil sunny springtime. The Director did not use dark filters
to enhance "the war experience" but played with the feeling "I don't want to die in the last few days of the war". It works.
Somehow you feel drawn in, and learn what a Trauma might feel, or how it is negotiated. If a soldier ever can come to terms with it. The end is not predictable and will stick with you, not for the faint of heart mind you
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2013
Set on the Eastern Front in WWII, 'White Tiger' is a big-budget Russian film that impresses on almost all counts.
It's essentially a duel film, like 'Enemy at the Gates', with plenty of misty forest atmosphere, suspense and some brilliantly played out tank battles.
Parts are slightly surreal, as in 'Cross of Iron', and one part is a bit slow.
There's excellent attention to detail and relatively little CGI -- everything looks just right. Even the upgraded Tiger itself is believable.
The massed attack by T34s is amazing.
This film is superbly acted too.
If I could, I would give White Tiger four and a half stars out of five.
Well worth watching.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2013
Have I just seen the same film as some of the negative reviews on here? Some are saying this should of been settled on the battlefield, you do know that wasn't an ordinary Tiger no?

It seems such a long time there was a decent war film and this surpasses easily all those biased hollywood efforts where everyone speaks with the same yankie accent drone. Even though I speak no Russian it was great hearing those accents and the German one as well, the subtitles does not take away anything from the film. It would have been great to see larger tank battles but even so the story had a huge twist and had me gripped as soon as they pulled the burnt Russian from his Tank.

Seeing the bodies by the Tanks brought home some of the devastation of war and if some of the details of the tanks were slightly off, so what. Hollywood does far , far worse. As for the twist at the end I thought how refreshing to have such a dark twist than the usual moralistic pap from hollywood.

I'm a big fan of the old British war films where people speak in accents albeit all English and also of foreign films more and more. I'd like to see more non American-English war films.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a film from the book by Ilya Boyashov called `Ili belyy Tigr' and is homage to Herman Melville's `Moby Dick'. This is about a tank driver whose whole tank squadron get taken out by a single Tiger tank. He is the sole survivor and yet has 90% burns, which should mean agonising death. But no, he makes a `miraculous' recovery. Except he has been slightly scarred and has lost his memory, Ahab only lost a leg and part of his mind.

Anyway the powers that be decide not only to return him to active duty, but to give him the mission to track down and `kill the white whale', I mean tank. To help in this he gets a special T34/85 prototype that is cunningly disguised as an ordinary T34/85. He gets the best crew in all of the USSR which includes an alcoholic gunner and is sent off to do battle with the mysterious white, ghost, tank. He also claims to be able to talk to tanks and pray to the `tank god', which has to be a boon in any tank based misunderstanding.

So is it any good? Well I actually quite enjoyed it, they use real tanks I could not see any CGI, but am sure some must have been used - the filming is that good. The tank battles of which there are only two, by the way, are all ruddy excellent and the first half of the film is absolutely tense and has an attraction all of its own. Possibly down to the good acting from a brilliantly ordinary looking cast. No one here could be accused of matinee idol good looks, which I am always pleased with. The sub titles are good; this is in Russian and a bit of German. The second half though gets a bit bogged down and we have some soul searching and all that and the film jumps ahead a tad without seeming to be very well sign posted.

That said this is still a very good film for tank enthusiasts and the whole ghost tank thing was done really well, but I think a nod of appreciation to Mr Melville would not have hurt and no one is called Ishmael, which I think must be a school boy error. Oh and the ending is not as good as the whale based version either - sorry.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This Russian war film (or is it really a war film?) made in 2012 is a strange thing, very hard to understand, classify and rate. Below, more of my impressions, with some SPOILERS.

The film begins, I think, soon after the gigantic battle of Kursk, in autumn 1943, somewhere in Ukraine or Belarus. In this time Red Army, after defeating the last major German offensive on the Eastern Front, was slowly but relentlessly advancing west - but the price paid for every mile of advance was high. We can see it very clearly in the first scene of the film, in which Soviet soldiers recover weapons from their fallen comrades and prepare their bodies for the burial. But then surprise - one of the supposedly dead soldiers, found inside a destroyed T-34 tank and therefore terribly burned, has still a little bit of life left in him...

To considerable surprise of all doctors and nurses in the field hospital, this man survives and in fact recovers very well - but he remembers almost nothing, not even his name. The one thing he somehow remembers is how to operate a T-34 tank. Renamed "Naydenov", which means "one who was found", he returns to service and quickly earns quite a reputation amongst even the most battle hardened Soviet tankists. Because of his skill, he is chosen for a special mission - operating a specially modified, heavily "upgraded" T-34-85 tank and commanding a specially selected crew, he is to track, ambush and destroy a very special and unique German tank, the terrifying "Belyi Tigr" (White Tiger).

The White Tiger seems to be itself a modified, extensively upgraded version of German heavy Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger tank which its crew (which we NEVER see by the way), for reasons unknown, kept painted all white, even once the winter 1943/44 is over... But Sergeant Naydenov soon finds out, that there are also many, many other things that make the White Tiger an absolutely unique and totally deadly opponent... All above takes care of like first ten minutes of the film and then the story really begins and the rest is for you to discover.

Not willing to provide more spoilers I will just say that I found this film very strange but ultimately rather good for the first 75 minutes. However, the last third of "White Tiger" suddenly goes in a completely different direction than all what precedes and from that moment on it just gets weirder and weirder. I almost had the impression that this last part was taken from another film... The ending - well, I am not certain what to think of it. I personally understood the ending as the moment when two of the main protagonists of World War II meet in hell for a little, not so friendly chat - but this scene is so strange, that I can absolutely not be certain if it was what the director wanted to say... In fact, even in its first part this film certainly forces the viewer to think a lot - and scratch his head a lot - trying to figure out what the heck is going on here and what it all means.

Even if it is definitely not a historical war film, "White Tiger" certainly offers a real treat for all military history freaks, especially those (like me) who are interested in weaponry. There is a great lot of finest military porn here, beginning with T-34 tanks - LOTS of them - and Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf H tanks. Other tanks appear as wrecks: Matilda II, BT-7, Panzer III Ausf H and one Sdkfz 251 half-track (and it actually matters for the plot that they are wrecks). We also can admire ISU-152 heavy assault guns and SU-100 tank destroyers - although surprisingly they are used here as field artillery... Then there is one scene with a lot of ZiS-3 light field guns and we can see also a German PAK40 75 mm anti-tank gun, Soviet PTRD41 anti-tank rifles, Maxim PM1910 heavy machine guns, Degtyaryov DP light machine guns, SVT-40 semi-automatic rifles, etc. However, there is only ONE Tiger tank in the whole film, the White Tiger, which is not exactly your average typical Panzerkampfwagen VI...

The tank fighting scenes are not bad at all, although the tendency of all the tanks (on both sides) to immediately explode after they are hit was probably an exaggeration...

I was really of two minds after watching this film. On one hand, I confess, I didn't understand it - even if of course I got the general Moby Dick'ian allusion. However, ultimately I do not regret that I watched it. It has quite a unique atmosphere and a kind of deep, slightly scary secret hidden somewhere, all of it wrapped in uncertainty and served with music by Richard Wagner, skilfully interpreted to add some menace but also more mystery... I can not really say that it is a good film - but on another hand you certainly don't see this kind of thing everyday...

Bottom line, I think that the best thing is that you see this film by yourself and make up your own mind about it. I rate it three stars, because this rating is exactly like this film - somehow unclear, vague and equivoque...
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on 29 July 2015
First up - if you're expecting a straightforward WW2 film along the lines of Fury or Saving Private Ryan or Enemy at the Gates, then forget it. This Russian film is and isn't about WW2 in much the same way that Moby Dick is and isn't about a whale. Ostensibly it's set in the dying days of the war on the eastern front. The "Ishmael" character is a horribly-burned Russian tank-man who somehow survives (or is re-born - or maybe he never existed at all), albeit with no memory of anything except that he can talk to the souls of tanks, and that it is his destiny to seek out and destroy the mysterious White Tiger which appears ghostlike on battlefields and destroys Russian tanks by the dozen. No crew of this tank is ever seen - indeed if you consider it a cross between the white whale and the homicidal tanker from Spielberg's Duel, you're pretty much up to the mark.

There are a couple of splendid action scenes (with overtones of surreality) which WW2 buffs will enjoy. There's a posse of T-34/85s and a clutch of SU-152s; and if they were done with CGI I certainly couldn't see the join. The Tiger is, all things considered, not a bad mock-up, except that its turret seems to be set too far forward on its chassis. A friend (who is a TRUE nerd when it comes to such matters) tells me that this echoes an early prototype, exactly one of which saw action; but I saw it as a sort of deliberately ambiguous detail. Russian tanks tended to have turrets set further forward than British, American or German ones, so perhaps this is a hint about the White Tiger only really existing in the imaginations of the Russians?

Perhaps I'm over-thinking this, but it would be in keeping with the mystic elements of the last third of the film. This concerns the signing of the document of surrender by three German generals, who then enjoy a rather odd meal. Cut to a long stream of German PoWs marching through the streets of (presumably) war-blasted Berlin. I was particularly taken by the shot of the old woman in a shabby coat that had once been expensive, sitting on a chair in front of a ruined house, watching them go by. Then cut to "Ishmael" alone in a field with his tank. The White Tiger isn't finished, he says, it's just gone into hiding. It'll be back in a hundred years or so.

Then the final scene. Is it real? Is it symbolic? It is happening in someone's head? Who knows?

Which, I contend, is the whole point. This is a cerebral film, loaded with ambiguities. It asks many questions, but doesn't provide easy answers - or any answers at all, possibly. It is not a film that rewards "lazy" viewing. If watched with a switched-on mind, however, it does make you think; in a way that all too few films do these days. I know I won't get it out of my head for a long time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2015
OK... This is a strange movie... If you are looking for a Hollywood
ending... this is not for you...

This is all metaphor. The White Tiger, is, Moby Dick... And the
Commander is Captain Ahram... well, that's how I read it...

An amazing film... realistic action, with a surreal story... and a
strange ending... that leaves you thinking...

If you like interesting cinema, get this movie...
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on 15 November 2014
Brilliant film up to the last ten minutes then it's 'what is this, did they tack the wrong film on to this?'

The story is a tank commander who virtually comes back from the dead hunts down a German panther tanks that seems to be almost ghostly. The battle scenes are first rate, the acting is good, and the story actually works. Then suddenly we are treated to a long re enactment of Germany's surrender, not sure why, and then the film goes completely off the rails with a after life interview with Mr Hitler himself. I rewound to see what I had missed but soon realised I had missed nothing. So what was the ending all about? Answers on a postcard please...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2013
The Russians can and are doing great war films. This one is no exception. There are a lot to be impressed about in this one and for the most part it was well worth seeing. Compared to almost any other war movie with tanks it was superior in most aspects. It is hard to make a film about tank warfare and there is not a single one so far that I know of that would rate five stars.

This one is a mix of a film about tank warfare and one about science-fiction/fantasy. I don't mind the mix and was even enjoying the idea that the main hero could talk to tanks (and they talked to him) and also the fantastic idea that there is a tank god i heaven in a tank coverall and riding around in a golden T34/85.! Why not? Our Russian hero is hunting a ghost German "Tiger" tank that appears on the battlefield and disappears after destroying all Russian tanks there. The German tank has no crew (our hero believes since it does not talk to him) and even the Germans have no clue to what it is.

What is god about this film are great acting by god actors and a huge amount of real equipment. We even get to see Matilda tanks, Grant tanks, JSU-152 and BT-7. Of course there are plenty of T-34:s. The German "Tiger" tank is a nice attempt to look like a Tiger but also like something strange. Under all that metal I suspect the Russians have put a JS-2. The combat sequences are well done considering how hard it is to film something that takes place over such a large area.

Unfortunately there are two major mistakes that stops the film from getting more than three stars.

At the technical/tactical level there are a number of items that a Russian tank officer could have fixed if he had been asked to do so. A few examples:
- The Russians are asked to produce a super T-34/85 i two weeks. It was supposed to have superior armour and a new engine. When it arrives it is a standard T-34/85 with no superior qualities what so ever. Why this talk about making a superior tank and then just use a standard one? Also, not even the Russians can make a new tank in two weeks. They do have the record of producing the SU-152 in one month but two weeks? No.
- When they go into battle against the Tiger they man the tank with a crew of three instead of five. The commander is sitting as a driver and there is no commander in the turret and there is no machine-gunner/radio operator. Ridiculous! Do they really think you command a tank from the drivers seat?
- They talk about 15 seconds as a record for loading the main gun. That is about double the time it takes in real life.

The Other mistake they make is to abruptly jump from the battlefield to the capitulation of the German forces two years later. There is no explanation for this and the two sequences of the film do not hang together. Suddenly we are following the German High Command being served frozen strawberries with whipped cream by the Russians! After a brief contact with our hero where he tells us that the battle with the Tiger will take place for a hundred years even if the war is over we are then meeting Adolf Hitler who for some reason survived the war and is sitting doing a monologue about the future in a castle somewhere with an audience of one man held in darkness. Hitler is allowed to tell us that there will always be war. Why?

If you skip the last third of the film and just enjoy a number of great shots of moving Russian tanks this film is absolutely worth seeing.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 20 May 2013
The first half - or two thirds if I'm being really generous - is a half decent portrayal of a war film based around tank warfare, mainly the T-34-85 variant and what was obviously a daft mock-up of an enhanced Tiger tank (which isn't really white, rather German grey with a whisp of white over the top). There are one or two good tank battles - albeit highly unrealistic (apart from the T-34s, of which there are plenty of working examples all over the world), and overall, I would say the acting was of a high standard. However, the last part of the film completely negates all of the good work done in the first. For some reason, the film makers decided to go completely away from the guts of the story - ie - a solid if limited war fim - to a mish mash of philosophising and self indulgent nonsense. There's even a scene showing Hitler being interviewed, presumably after the war, and a long, pointless scene of the German high command signing surrender documents at the end of the war. Why?

If the film makers had left the main thread of the story alone, and seen it to a natural conclusion (on the battlefield would have helped), rather than trying to turn into some confusing paraody of supernatural drivel, this could have been a great film. Instead, it is hi-jacked by self indulgence and a director who thinks he is far cleverer than what he actually is.
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