Film: “The Crew”; Director: Nikolai Lebev; Cast: Danila Kozlovsky, Vladimir Mashkov, Agne Grudite, Katerina Shpitsa, Sergey Kempo, Sergey Shakurov, Elena Yakovleva; Rating: ***

Dubbed in English and in Hindi, “The Crew” is a Russian, survival drama. It is a remake of the 1979 released Russian film called Air Crew.

This film made on a moderate budget, is impressive and has qualities that could be at par with any big budget Hollywood film of the same genre.

While the film captures nature’s fury at its peak, this is not a disaster film – natural or man-made. It is a layered film with myriad messages about human relationships.

It is about breaking away from the norms of the Soviet tradition especially with regard to obedience to authority, voicing ones’ opinion and following ones’ heart. It also deals with professionalism and family bonding.

The narrative focuses on Alex McCoy a talented young pilot from the Russian Airforce, who is “grounded and not even permitted to fly a Crop Duster,” for disobeying an absurd order.

Disappointed with the situation that he is in and refusing to take help from his well-placed father, Alex lands up taking a job in a commercial airline as a trainee. He is paired to fly with a seasoned pilot Leonard, who is not happy about Alex being his subordinate. Their association begins on an uneasy note, with Leo taking an instant dislike to Alex for being talented and cocksure of himself.

The first half of the plot focuses on the routine lives of the crew and establishes their relationship. They fly to various destinations and also indulge in rescue operations.

The second half of the film is action packed as it concentrates on one such rescue operation at a volcanic island, after they receive a message about an earthquake on the island.

How the crew escape from the island along with the evacuated people and survive the catastrophe in two aircrafts, forms the crux of the narrative.

The climax is nail-biting and absorbing as it pivots on a “crazy plan”, from Alex. Though it is far-fetched and unrealistic, much against the opinion of his superiors, he executes it with precision.

The graph of every character is well-etched and the performances of every actor are good with most of them having their moments of calamity and reconciliation.

With strong screen presence, Danila Kozlovsky as Alex McCoy is charming and Vladimir Maskhov as Leonard is realistic.

Agne Grudite as Sandra, a co-pilot and Alex’s love interest, is effective and convincing. So is Katerina Shpitsa as the stewardess Victoria and Sergey Kempo as the flight attendant Andrew.

The dubbing in certain parts of the film seems to be out of sync but nevertheless, with excellent effects and good production values, the film is visually appealing.

By Troy Ribeiro

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