The Saratov Approach


Action / Drama / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 87%
IMDb Rating 5.7 10 1963


Uploaded By: OTTO
Downloaded 86,194 times
June 10, 2014 at 04:03 AM



Bart Johnson as Senator Smith
Corbin Allred as Elder Tuttle
Alex Veadov as Sergei
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759.02 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 47 min
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1hr 47 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ETO_Buff 7 / 10

Big Story on a Small Budget

I first want to dispel a prevalent myth about this film, and all other publicly released films that portray members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members (except "Meet the Mormons"): This film was produced by a privately-owned production company that is owned by a member of the Church. It was not produced or endorsed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If it was, it would have had a MUCH bigger budget!

That being said, there are only two types of reviews on this film - very positive or very negative. Two or three people took the middle ground, but that's it. I enjoyed this film quite a bit, and found it to be very well-made with the limited resources the production company could afford, and I was impressed that a Mormon-cinema film actually went as far away as Kyiv, Ukraine to photograph the outdoor shots.

People who watched the film without any prejudice (Mormons and non- Mormons alike) saw a film about hope and forgiveness, and were inspired by it.

Those that hate the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hate the film (shocking!) and saw it just so they could criticize any little pointless detail that they could find. In spite of the variety of their criticism, all of the negative reviewers have one thing in common as far as I can tell - they have never produced a film. They are also the ones that will find this review as not useful.

Some reviewers of this film called the plot predictable. Well, considering it's a true story and it was all over international news, it does't take a lot of effort to predict what was going to happen, does it? Maybe the filmmakers could have altered history, and changed the way things really turned out like in "Inglorious Basterds".

Other reviewers made the point that the story could have been told in ten minutes. Sometimes a filmmaker likes to give an audience a sense of how time drags in certain desperate situations, like in "Das Boot".

Some complaints are that the film is "preachy" or "too religious". Newsflash: It's about two men serving as missionaries for a church, and it's therefore their job to preach! Missionaries do that. On another Web site, some unnamed idiot from IMDb even criticized the Mormon filmmakers for making a film about Mormons, for Mormons, with Mormons in the cast, produced in a city with a 40% Mormon population. Maybe this person would have preferred that a Mormon make a film about Catholics, or Jews, or some other group that he doesn't know anything about.

A lot has been said about the actors being a decade or so older than the characters they portray. Personally, I'm getting tired of seeing Corbin Allred in every Mormon-cinema film that's released, but the fact is no production company outside of Utah is going to produce a film that gives a fair and accurate portrayal of Latter-day Saints, or the Church to which they belong. This film was produced by a company that's based in the Salt Lake City area, which believe it or not, is not a hotbed of acting talent, nor an entertainment Mecca. The guys that are cast in the film did an excellent job, and that's probably why they passed the audition. Get over it.

And finally, many bring up the fact that the film appears as if it was filmed on a low budget. Surprise! It was! In fact, one genius who's not in the United States decided that the apartment hallway looked like it was in Brooklyn, New York, USA. Actually, that scene, like all of the indoor scenes, was filmed in Draper, Utah.

The bottom line is, everyone that's curious about the film should see it. Those who are looking to find issues with it, will find issues, as with anything. Those who are looking for a story that is 95% accurate (according to the people that it's about) and a good example of an independent film, will be glad they saw it.

Reviewed by johnny_burnaway 8 / 10

one of the better LDS movies

I think the problem with reviewing an LDS movie is that the people most moved to comment tend to fall into two camps: people who don't like Mormons or Mormonism and therefore would never say anything good about anything featuring either, and Mormons who speak from the other end of the spectrum and defend everything LDS to the hilt. I am LDS so take my comments as you will.

I am not too keen on Mormon cinema, though, and only watched "The Saratov Approach" reluctantly. I have to say, the joy of low expectations is that they are sometimes exceeded, and that was the case here.

This is the true story of two Mormon missionaries in Russia who are kidnapped and held for ransom. Throughout their ordeal, they attempt to make the best of the situation while coming to terms with the possibility that they might be killed. We also see the agony their families go through, and how all the resulting diplomatic effort and posturing eventually leads to the fact that no one is going to pay the ransom.

There might have been a bit more tension had this not been based on a true story. If you're familiar with the actual case (let me google that for you!), you know how the movie is going to end. That makes it less of a thriller and more of a study that leads you to ask how you would respond in a similar situation. It made me think of the French film "Of Gods and Men", another true story which tells of monks in Algeria who are threatened by Muslim extremists and the choices they make in response.

Corbin Allred and Maclain Nelson may seem a little old to be playing 20-year-olds, but that's nothing new in filmmaking. Have you watched "Grease" lately? They do a great job conveying initial terror and the gradual change that comes over them the longer they spend with their captors.

For those who take exception to the supposed preachiness of this movie, you have to remember that it's telling the story of two men who were kidnapped while serving their church full-time. Of course there will be a strong element of spirituality, expressions of faith, and mention of beliefs. All of this may resonate more with the initiated, but it rings true to the characters and where they were at that point in their lives.

Finally, a word to the filmmakers, in case they ever film again: USE A TRIPOD! I understand that the hand-held camera effect adds to the cinema verite and also creates an atmosphere of unease, but there's no reason why an establishing shot of a house has to shake so much! I'm so glad I didn't see this in the theater or I'd have puked in my lap. It was tough enough on my TV. Others have mentioned "The Blair Witch Project", which I did see in the theaters, and I was sick as a dog afterward. So watch "The Saratov Approach" but watch it on a laptop or something.

Reviewed by tomasleandrobatalla 8 / 10

Not bad for being an LDS film

As a film that turned out to be better than I expected, I actually enjoyed the Saratov Approach. With a low budget, a somewhat niche target audience (the movie was initially released only in Utah, a state with a majority Mormon population), and little source material, the film delivered pretty well. Of course, the film will naturally appeal more to Mormons/Christians in general, but I didn't feel it was overly preachy or pretentious to the point of being unwatchable. Some have complained about the length of the film and a sense that most of the time "nothing really happens". To be honest, at no point did I feel that the movie dragged.

The acting, the pacing, the camerawork, the score... They're all ok (not outstanding by any means, but fine) and the film works out. The film isn't a breakthrough and it isn't terrible, it's just a decent thriller with a religious/"feel good" twist to it, and it is good for what it is. If you enjoy these types of films, you'll probably enjoy this one. Something I particularly liked about the film is that you could sympathize with the kidnappers and that they actually had something of a backstory. And the two missionaries had pretty good chemistry.

There aren't that many good LDS films out there and this is definitely one of the better ones.

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