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The Brilliant Netflix Movie You Haven’t Watched But Should

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The Cold War (1947-1991) continues to set the tone for suspense plots of the most varied hues. To a greater or lesser degree, they all emphasize the hostilities between the United States and the then Soviet Union, which professed socialism as the gateway to the utopia of a humanity with more social justice. It is difficult to pinpoint with absolute precision whether the Soviets themselves believed in the fantasy of a truly socialist world, as idealized by Marx and Engels, starting with the princes of that promised land, who enjoyed all the privileges of capitalism prevailing in almost the entire world, denied to the common citizen, without even disguising it. Socialism did not resist the reality shock of the postmodern world, as well as the Soviet Union also had to retreat from its totalitarian pretensions beyond its domains and surrender to the liberal economy, which did not mean the insertion of the people in the consumer market. , but it gave the shift oligarchs a chance to become even more prosperous, plundering the unpublicized profits of large state-owned companies, not to mention the corruption endemic to these companies. These human miseries, as simple as they are harrowing, only come to challenge once again Brecht’s maxim that regrets that a country needs heroes. Not only countries cry out for saviors: the whole world awaits them, yearning for them to embody the ideals on which man will be dependent until the end of time.

The Polish Łukasz Kośmicki widens humanity’s appetite for dreams from the perspective of an anti-hero with a special gift, but in the wake of his demons in “Cold Match” (2019), a metaphor for the transformations governments across the planet have had. to submit, harassed by individuals increasingly tired of clay gods. In October 1962, the year in which Kośmicki and Marcel Sawicki set the script, the world was experiencing the height of tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union and the consequent escalation of tensions towards a nuclear conflict unprecedented in history. A Bill Pullman completely devoted to the character, serves as master of ceremonies for the central plot, which details the activity of a delegation of American spies infiltrated in a chess championship in Poland. In the role of Joshua Mansky, Pullman gives the plot the dimension of good suspense, hiding secrets of a dangerously vulnerable temperament himself. This math genius and former Princeton professor suffers from a stubborn alcoholism, potentiated by anxiety attacks that show his emotional insecurity. His dependency picture begins to manifest itself with even more intensity when he learns that he will have to replace Professor Konigsberg, who had suffered a stroke under mysterious circumstances days before. Mansky suspects the competition is a mere game of marked cards, in which the Russians, represented by Jewgeni Wladimirowitsch Sidichin’s Alexander Gavrylov, have the upper hand, until the United States is hopelessly humiliated before the world. Even so, he is obliged to sacrifice himself, because any shadow of giving up on the horizon would be much more damaging to the country’s image – and, preferably, to find a way to circumvent the enemy’s offensive and become the great victor.

As he opens up the dough to include the main ingredient, the probable installation of Russian nuclear warheads in Cuba, Kośmicki explores Mansky’s episodes of instability, little by little more out of his mind. Interspersed with the scenes that record the tournament and its backstage, the viewer is faced with sequences in which Mansky is shown in a glass cell, a few centimeters from the floor, to ward off the risk of escape, challenged by agent Stone, played by Lotte Verbeek, and his colleague White, by James Bloor. With the analysis, the director emphasizes Pullman’s character’s dread of taking part in the dispute against Gavrylov, who in turn is watched with a magnifying glass by General Krutov, the typical villain of the excellent Alexei Walerjewitsch Serebrjakow. Chess lends itself as an obvious allegory of the dispute between the two most powerful nations on Earth for the political-military world hegemony, in a back-and-forth of drama and suspense, softened at one point by Robert Wabich’s comedy as the drunkard and cynical Pole who luxuriates in the prebends of the regime, but he devotes to it a devoted contempt.

The immediate reference in the first few minutes is Edward Zwick’s “The Owner of the Game” (2014), but Kośmicki’s film has its own qualities, starting with the unbuttoned way of dealing with such a serious subject. Unlike the protagonist of Zwick’s film, he doesn’t take himself seriously and has a single purpose, and it’s not to win the brain battle against Gavrylov. To Pawel Edelman’s photography, exquisite and successful in highlighting the sepia of grays and faded browns in order to evoke a melancholy past, dialogues in Polish and Russian are added, a care that brings factuality to the fictional plot. The Cold War extended beyond December 8, 1987, when US President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, signed the INF, a treaty banning intent to attack. nuclear power from one side to the other, and it was only officially ended on December 26, 1991. On March 4, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the document null and void, alleging violations of the agreement by the United States. Five months later, on August 2, 2019, President Donald Trump made the same decision, leaving in the air the chance of new clashes between the two countries, exacerbated by the invasion of Ukraine by Russian Army troops on February 24, 2022.


Movie: cold start
Direction: Lukasz Kośmicki
Year: 2019
Genres: Thriller/Espionage
Note: 9/10

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