Genre: Biography | Documentary |
Runtime: 98 min
Director: Daniel Roher
Starring: Alexei Navalny, Yulia Navalnaya, Dasha Navalnaya
Centers on events around the August 2020 assassination attempt on former Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny by poisoning, the domestic flight he on from Siberia to Moscow needing to make an emergency landing upon he falling ill aboard. He was ultimately transferred from a Russian hospital to Germany both for further fear for his life if left in Russia without protection, and that any evidence of the poisoning being destroyed by the state in the initial and continuing suspicions that the attempt was either backed or directed by the Kremlin under President Vladimir Putin which they/he have always denied, Putin who even refuses to utter Navalny’s name when questioned about him or the attempt.
LOOMING WITH TENSION
Few outside Russia even knew who Alexei Navalny was and what role he had to play as an opposition figure against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime. This film depicts the fair moment when Navalny becomes world famous after being fatal ill by being poisoned by Novichok, making headlines. The film follows Navalny after being released from German intensive care.
Surprisingly, it’s also a personal portrait of the opposition leader. How he’s as a person and his personality is really on display, making it a more intimate portrait of the Russian activist. He’s with his family and colleagues. We get to see when has been poisoned, gets out of ICU, and talks with Putin lackeys in order to find out who and why he was poisoned. The whole concept of the film is to film and get to know the activist in a proper way. During the span of barely 6 months between August 2020 and January 2021, there’s so much that happens that it’s almost hard to process. His investigations with the team get a full display.
It’s occasional funny to see how Navalny is at the same time he’s investigating the crimes that Putin has made. It’s easy to be drawn into this film, especially if you are a critique of Putin’s own regime, as this is a big Fuck you to that president. It has an easy flow, good pace and an interesting aspect overall. There’s tension right from the start. It has simple editing and even if you can hear the interviewer’s questions; it adds something else to this type of documentary. A far more personal and realistic. There are some critical questions at the beginning about Navalny’s past. There’s a question on why he would be a better president than Putin. By the end credits, and the planned arrest of Navalny at the Moscow airport by his arrival, there’s no news revealed in the documentary.
It earns its place for being investigated and critical. It’s after all a film from CNN Films and HBO Max. Despite this, there’s something honest in this film, friendly and a reason why Navalny beats Putin by far.