This is a very simple, very real, and very gritty tale about a woman who visits her grandson at his army base in war-torn Chechnya. There is no visible fighting or battles during this film, as it’s purely a point of view of the grandmother as she reunites with her grandson, and chats to the other young soldiers at the camp. Visually, the film is shot in stunning monochrome, with striking faded, dirty and rough production design. This is a very slow film. We just stick with the grandma as she slowly stumbles around the camp. Everyone in the film seems exhausted. It successfully portrays that war is far from exciting – it’s extremely tough work and essentially soul destroying. That said, it’s not strictly anti-war – it more of an observational piece. Take out of it what you will. Personally, although I respected the acting, directing, cinematography, production design and sound design, I found this film to be too humdrum and long-winded. I fell asleep a couple of times, and didn’t really pay that much attention when I was actually awake. It’s very sad – and makes you really hate war and what it does to all these young people; however it’s a very draining film. Beautifully crafted – but not my sort of film…

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