Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine in 2014 forever changed the lives of all Ukrainians. This was reflected in all spheres of practical life in the country. Cinematography could not miss such an important event for the entire nation. The phase of a full-scale war may have already begun, but the origins of the conflict have not yet been fully explored in movies and TV series. “Peaceful 21” is a film designed to slightly correct the existing situation. We will tell you in the review below how this attempt turned out.
“Myrnyi-21” / Myrnyi-21
Genre military action drama
Director Akhtem Seitablaev
In roles Andriy Saminin, Maksym Devizorov, Pavlo Li, Viktor Zhdanov, Maria Shtofa, Serhii Frolov
Release year 2023
The events of the film take place in May 2014. Crimea is already occupied by Russia, Donetsk and Luhansk regions are next. Russian agents are already preparing the ground for an invasion in the village of Myrnyi, in the Luhansk region on the border with Russia. The story focuses on a detachment of border guards, which has to give a worthy rebuff to the enemy.
The director of the film, Akhtem Seitablayev, said that one of the key themes of his story is trust. In conditions where even close friends and old acquaintances can be recruited by Russia, it becomes very difficult to trust anyone. And “Mirny-21” conveys this real moment very accurately.
Because of this, the first half of the film feels extremely tense and resembles a genre rather than a thriller. The head of the border guard unit needs to figure out who he can trust when a military invasion is inevitable. And potential betrayals lurk around every corner. Add to this the slightly chamber atmosphere of the first half of the film and you get quite a dramatic action.
There is no particularly elevated drama in the stories of individual heroes. On the contrary, local images are simple and understandable to everyone. The prodigal son of an oligarch, a brave soldier, a manipulative traitor – “Mirny-21” operates with familiar characters, so there are no miracles here. But the scenario evens everyone out when full-scale hostilities begin.
During the creation of the film, the team consulted with a real colonel of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. Thanks to this, the specifics of the work of the border guards in “Mirny-21” were faithfully conveyed. There is no excessive romanticization or any supernatural moments in it. Military service here looks like routine work, the same debt to the homeland that must be repaid.
The second half of “Mirny-21” is moderately large-scale military action, full of shootouts and nuances of modern warfare. There is no imperceptible pathos in the local battles, but the film does not fall into a gloomy image of them either. Again, the shooting in the film is part of the border guards’ job. And no matter how dire the circumstances, this is still the prose of their lives.
One can only complain about some naivety, as well as the idealization of the general story of the film. After the horrors of a full-scale Russian invasion in 2022, what’s shown in “Mirny-21” feels somewhat limited and somewhat fantastical. It all comes together too well in places.
Perhaps such films are needed now. Without unnecessary “blackness” and thickening of colors, because this is actually enough. And something slightly embellished to instill hope and faith in victory in people. We will have time to immerse ourselves while watching movies after the victory.
“Peaceful-21” did not escape the shadow of the real war. Pavlo Lee, one of the actors of the film, died in March 2022 due to Russian shelling. And part of the money from ticket sales will go to the “Return Alive” fund to buy mortars and pickup trucks in different regions of Ukraine.
From the technical side, the film may surprise someone with the 4:3 aspect ratio, which is found in cinemas today, except when viewing arthouse. Instead, the locations turned out to be very pleasant and will surely resonate in the heart of every Ukrainian, even if you have never been to Luhansk region.
“Myrny-21” is based on real events. Therefore, the heroism of the main characters is not a scripted fiction, but the reality of the life of the Ukrainian military. They reveal it even now, protecting the country from new hordes of bad people.
interesting atmosphere of a psychological thriller in the first half of the timeline; a reliable depiction of the work of border guards without excessive romanticization; feeling of hope and belief in victory after viewing
some naivety of the story; simple images and motifs at the core of each character
“Myrny-21” is difficult to evaluate from the point of view of classical film criticism. After all, this is to a lesser extent a feature film and to a greater extent — a mold of the bloody history of modern Ukraine. However, as a movie “Myrny-21” turned out to be quite worthy