Prisoner of the Mountains

In Prisoner of the Mountains, two Russian soldiers — one a cynical, arrogant officer, the other a raw, frightened recruit — are captured in Chechnya and used as a bargaining tool by one of the village elders, whose son is being held captive by the Russian forces. The deal quickly falls apart, and the two men, polar opposites in almost every respect, chained together by their ankles, are left with nothing to do but plot an unlikely escape or await an ugly death. Anyone want to guess whether the defiant ones gradually come to respect one another? While this 1996 Oscar nominee (adapted, with disturbingly few modifications, from a 150-year-old novella by Tolstoy) is familiar in its broad strokes, the details are another matter entirely. Quiet revelations are buried in virtually every scene and play well given the intimacy of video. A tale exceptionally well told; Leo would have approved. A-

Prisoner of the Mountains
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