David Knights' Weblog

January 3, 2020

Movie review: Unknown Soldier (2017)

Filed under: General,Modeling — dknights @ 4:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

Previously I viewed Winter War, a Finnish film that told the story of the Winter war between Finland and the Soviet Union between 1939 and 1940.  I followed that film up with another film from Terry’s Movie Vault; Unknown Soldier.  This movie follows a Finnish machine gun company thru the Continuation War, which is what the Finns call the War Between Finland and the Soviet Union from 1941-1944.  The book is based on a novel of the same name that is considered THE novel of this period in Finnish history.  This is the 3rd film based on the novel to be made in Finland.  When it was made in 2017, it was the most expensive film ever made in Finland.

The money spent shows.  The film has wonderful sets, and the cinematography of the beautiful Finnish countryside is dramatic and wonderful.  The uniforms and props are very detailed and appear to be period correct.  The fact that the film had a big budget (at least big for a Finnish film) shows in the film.  Its look is indistinguishable from any Hollywood release.

Unknown Soldier

While I don’t want to give away the entire plot, the film basically follow this

machine gun company from the start of the Continuation War in 1941 thru their recapture of the land lost in the 1939-40 war and then into the Soviet Union proper and their capture of a Soviet city.  Then the unit digs in, WWI style and spends 2 years holding their ground and beating off Soviet probes.  Finally the Soviets, having gotten the Germans in hand, devote resources to the Finnish front and go on to recapture the territory lost in 1941.  With the Soviet assault, we get to see a T-34/85 and a couple of T-34/76s used in the film and they appeared to be authentic.

The film is well acted with the members of the machine gun company consisting of archetypes; the grizzled veteran, the idealistic young officer, the comedian, and so on.  The characters will be instantly recognizable to any viewer who has seen US war films.  The film is in Finnish and has only subtitles.  There isn’t a dubbed version.  While subtitles don’t both me, they do both some viewers and it can become tiresome reading them over the films entire 3 hour length.  Finally, there are some moments in the movie where you can tell that there is something that is referred to is culturally significant and would be easily understood by a Finnish moviegoer, but is lost on one who doesn’t have the Finnish cultural background.

It is a long movie, but worth watching, especially for the cinematography, scenery and Finnish army equipment details.  4 out of 5 stars.

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