"This legendary film from Soviet director Elem Klimov is a senses-shattering plunge into the dehumanizing horrors of war. As Nazi forces encroach on his small village in Belorussia, teenage Flyora (Alexei Kravchenko, in a searing depiction of anguish) eagerly joins the Soviet resistance. Rather than the adventure and glory he envisioned, what he finds is a waking nightmare of unimaginable carnage and cruelty—rendered with a feverish, otherworldly intensity by Klimov’s subjective camera work and expressionistic sound design. Nearly blocked from being made by Soviet censors, who took seven years to approve its script,Come and See is perhaps the most visceral, impossible-to-forget antiwar film ever made." (Criterion.com)
I was scouring the internet when I came across an article that had a headline that said, "The Best Scary Movie You Never Heard Of", or something to that effect. I clicked on the link and found it was talking about Come and See. I take a strange sense of pride in my movie knowledge and when something as intriguing as this movie seemed came to me, via my, laptop, I had to search for it. I have to say that the article wasn't wrong once I had found it on the Criterion Channel App as Come and Seen is one of the greatest films about war and the innocence it takes.
From the first frame of the film I was entranced thanks to the cinematography from the great Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049, 1917). The world around Flyora seems small as the people in his town seem few and far between. He dreams of fighting alongside others in his Soviet country against Nazi Germany comes closer as he begins to prepare for war against his mothers wishes. After he is recruited, a chain of events begins that takes him through the journey of child like innocence, love as only a teenager can know it, personal loss, and the realization that there is more than just his wants and pain.
Director Elem Klimov tells a tale of adolescence and growing into adulthood too quickly in time of war from the moments of joy to the utter despair it inevitably brings. The last thirty minutes of this film are some of the most vile acts of war put on film, in my opinion. Everything leads to this crescendo of evil that keeps your eyes peeled to the screen even when you won't want to. Come and See is one of the most important war movies to ever release and the fact that is finally being recognized more by the American audiences now and should not be missed.
5 out of 5