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February 20, 2014 6:02 pm
Stalingrad, the first Russian film in Imax 3D, is a blowhard blockbuster mixed with boutique war drama. The screen rumbles its bellyful at start and close: soldiers ablaze in a burning landscape set off by exploded fuel dumps, air bombardments. Elsewhere, under-conceiving dwells with over-projecting.
A small platoon of characters is dug in for an Alamo-like stand-off in and around the last apartment building left between the Germans and possible victory. Time: 1942. Context: the battle that cost more lives than any in history (a million and a half), though you’d barely know it here. We are mostly stuck with five resisting Russians, an opposing Nazi officer (Thomas Kretschmann, survivor from the 1993 German Stalingrad) and two women, one on each side, providing, yes, love interest. It’s a B-picture with pretensions, made to seem all the frailer by the yahooing size and stereoscopy of a screen process impatient to get to the next apocalypse.
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