Dark Blue World
Away from home. Franta (Vetchy) thinks about his sweetheart (Rybova)...
Tmavomodrý Svet
dir Jan Sverak
scr Zdenek Sverak
with Ondrej Vetchy, Krystof Hadek, Tara Fitzgerald, Charles Dance, Oldrich Kaiser, David Novotny, Linda Rybova, Jaromir Dulava, Lukas Kantor, Radim Fiala, Miroslav Taborsky, Anna Massey
release US 28.Dec.01; UK 10.May.02
01/Czech 1h54

3˝ out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
so much owed by so many to so few From the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Kolya, here's a terrifically involving and inventive WWII drama--funny, romantic and ultimately moving. It tells the story of Franta (Vetchy), a Czech pilot who, with his protege Karel (Hadek), escapes his home country when the Nazis invade. They flee to Britain to help the Allies. There they both fall for the same woman (Fitzgerald) while piloting missions with other Czech expats. But upon their return home, they're met with suspicion--and imprisonment--by the Russian liberators.

Don't worry, that doesn't even come close to describing the story! This film works best in its details, not in the rather conventional plotline. There is real life in these characters--an edgy, earthy honesty that draws us into the story and moves us strongly without ever becoming mawkish or obvious. The film is a terrific combination of cutting edge effects (outtakes from the 1969 classic The Battle of Britain are seamlessly integrated), terrific acting and a strong series of events. Three-time Czech best actor Vetchy is superb as Franta, energetic and engaging, yet hardly perfect! And as his pal Karel, Hadek brings just the right combination of boyish charm and astonishing heroism. The film looks terrific, capturing the period with texture and palpable emotion, although the cross-cutting between two time periods is a bit confusing at times. It never takes the obvious cinematic routes; this feels like a classic movie, as opposed to the revisionist stuff we've been force fed lately. And even if most of the film is in Czech, it's hardly a foreign film; this is our common history, and it's a film well worth looking out for.
themes, language, some violence cert 12 18.Mar.02

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
so much owed by so many to so few send your review to Shadows... Misha, Surrey, UK: 4/5 "I just loved that film! It is a very sad story told with wonderfull soft humor. And what more! I couldn't believe that my two favourite actors would ever met in the same film! I am talking about Oldrich Vetchy and Tara Fitzgerald." (24.Mar.05)
© 2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall