22 July 2014 | trevorwomble
A pleasantly well made biopic - flag waving from the Russians for once.
The move into space is one of mankind's greatest achievements in the 20th century and this biopic is a worthy addition to the more commonly found fare us in the west are exposed to.
In a way this could be seen as the Russian equivalent of the excellent 1983 Hollywood film 'The Right Stuff'. It celebrates the putting of the first man into space, Yuri Gagarin of course. The film is told in a way that details his famous flight in 1961 with flashbacks to key points in his life, his childhood, his romance with his soon to be wife, his joining the Soviet Air Force and the trials and tribulations of the journey that resulted in him eventually making history.
As the film is less than two hours long it does have a feel of a carefully put together and slightly hurried celebration of an authentic Soviet hero. Gagarin is made out to be the nicest man in the world who was a model poster boy for the Soviets, and it does gloss over his life and stops conveniently before his faults as a human being (particularly his later alcoholism) became apparent. However that is my only grumble because this is a meticulously well done film with top rate effects and beautifully filmed. Yes it has a certain propaganda value (as do a great many American films on similar lines) that a cynic might try and pull apart. The re-enactments of the Soviet people celebrating his achievement do have a slight cheese factor when viewed from a modern perspective, but these are minor criticisms as the film is not intended to be a warts and all look at Major Gagarin's life, but a celebration of what he achieved and the fearlessness of a man who knew that to make history he had to knowingly take risks, with a brief explanation at the end of his life beyond his famous flight and his tragic death at the age of just 34.