Friday, September 2, 2011

Rukajärven Tie (AKA: Ambush - 1999)

See The Fighting Finns On Film

- The Soviet-Finnish conflict of the late 1930s and early 1940s seems to be forgotten, or at least overlooked, in the big picture of World War II. (Well, not by the Finns of course.) Only a few weeks after the German-Soviet invasion of Poland, The USSR decided that they wanted some Finnish lands for military purposes. Naturally, the Finns were not going to begin to allow the Soviets to march in easy as they please and take part of their country away. Thus the Winter War was; and one cannot make up a story as interesting and courageous as these events of history.

The 1999 Finish war film Rukajärven Tie (Ambush (English title)) is a solid war film set in these dark days, adding a fictional element about a young Finnish Lieutenant and his fiancé and how the war affected them.

In Rukajärven Tie, the feel of the times is conveyed very well through this character-centered story. The way the war was fought is portrayed in an interesting way, the production design takes you back to 1941, and the cast all gives solid performances that connect you to the story. However, there are a few pieces to this film that does not leave you fully satisfied. The overall script is a bit generic with a slightly underdeveloped love story and themes/scenes have been seen many times before; however it is still not a bad script, it is just not that great. Rukajärven Tie also has a handful of cool shots and strong battle sequences but the overall cinematography work really pulls the film down in quality. Most of the picture is fine; however, some scenes feature a color palette that is of a straight-to-CD-ROM value.

While perhaps a bit standard in content at times and lacking in visual fineness on occasion, with an interesting presentation of the Soviet-Finnish conflict from a Finnish perspective Rukajärven Tie is still an impressive war film by and large.

CBC Rating: 7/10

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