Friday, December 27, 2013

235 of 1001 Movies: Come and See (1985)

I thought I had seen some of the most horrific and brutal of movies, but most only seem like a glimpse of horror compared to Elem Klimov's Come and See. Klimov has a way of shooting that makes living in a village in Russia during World War II one of the most terrifying experiences, and all seen through the eyes of a young boy. Klimov doesn't even have to get graphic to get the chill of the scenes to the viewer. Implying is enough, and sends way more horror than showing the actual acts.

Summary: Florya is a boy becoming a teen, and with that the want to be a man. He is wanting to join the partisan to fight against the German forces travelling through Russia, and murdering and burning villages. Florya finds a gun that enables him to join even though his family doesn't want him involved with the horrors they are much more aware of. After joining he meets Glasha, who has been rescued by the Partisan, and they make a friendship as the war begins to fall on them. Florya's world is turned upside down as he witnesses the first of the attacks and travels home to find his village has been destroyed.

Acting: The acting is very emotional. It seems like for the most part though that the characters just have a horrified expression frozen on their face, which is understandable. The actor portraying Florya brings the transition to the screen well of how Florya starts off as this kid playing with his friend, and looking for a guy so he can join, and then by the end of how he has witnessed the horrific happenings of what it really has brought to his country. Glasha was an interesting character, and adds a bit of lighter elements at times when she is on the screen. Perhaps with her smiling that seems out of place sometimes in the dark plot of a story.

Filming: The movie has some interesting shots. Most are utilized to get into the psychological break down of Florya. The shots also have focus I haven't seen before. Like Florya's head would be in focus, then there would be a bit of blur behind him, and then maybe further back people would be in focus behind him. Another scene utilizes the terror of the first attack Florya's in as bombs are dropped and he is left a bit deaf. You have the annoying high pitched sound of ears ringing, and close up shots of his face to bring in the terror. Plus, near the end the scenes get pretty freaky as Florya is shooting a photo of Hitler and imagining everything going disappearing with his death up to the point we see a photo of Hitler and his mother. The psychological element of the movie is just well done.

Plot: Probably the best way to perceive the movie is it's a war movie seen through the eye of a boy, and instead of focusing on the soldiers involved it shows instead the harm that came to civilians caught up in the battles. I think that is what makes it that much more horrific. It's basically like people were caught up in a tornado and there was nowhere to hide or defend yourself. The director also never gets too graphic, but what is implied is so graphic that it was enough to watch. Sometimes the movie got so brutal and difficult to watch I almost felt like pausing for a break. It's just horrific and knowing that these things more than likely happened, and some did, makes it that much more difficult to watch.

Come and See is one of the better war movies I've seen, and one that was the hardest to watch. This movie isn't about anything but how Russian civilians were caught up in the horrors that German forces brought upon their country because they believed that everyone was inferior. It brings to reality just how bad war is, and with the testament of Germans involved who say that what the movie shows did happen it makes it that much harder to watch.

Rating 8 of 10.

Come and See (1985) on IMDb

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