'Saratov Approach' captures suspense of real-life missionary abduction drama

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  • new08001 Rexburg, ID
    Oct. 29, 2013 9:46 p.m.


    Forgive me, but how do you make a movie like this without crying, praying, pushing and shoving, and this level of seriousness? Did you prefer the story to be told void of emotion? Call me crazy, but I have a feeling the missionaries in real life had plenty of that going on. Obviously this film doesn't have the same budget and talent as major blockbusters but for the resources they did have I felt the film was treated fairly in each respect. Unlike a good number of Hollywood blockbusters, this film has a story that in and of itself, is incredible. This is not cheap LDS entertainment. This is an powerful story told by filmmakers on a limited budget.

  • Nayajja Ephraim, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 8:57 p.m.

    I just returned from this movie. I have seen a lot of the LDS-themed movies, and most were OK, but just OK. This? Impressive. It was shot simply. The scenes were simple. Its strength was in that simplicity. That gave the actors rooms to act, to show the gamut of emotions that these two young men struggled with, to see them strengthened by their faith, yet still struggling, and then, slowly, to let us see a bit into the minds of the captors, to see the missionaries with an opportunity to rely on the arm of flesh to try to save themselves, then to be subtly brought around to relying on the arm of God. Lots to think about.

  • piecefulchaos West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 25, 2013 5:43 p.m.

    I saw the movie today with my 15-year old son. It was powerfully portrayed and acted. I felt like I was in a play instead of a movie. I thought that there was a depth to this movie that I have not found in any of the other LDS cinema, although, The Other Side of Heaven comes close. There are some profound thoughts expressed in this movie, and they are driven home by the real emotion that seems to accompany each scene and is genuine to each situation - the missionaries as captives, the parents dealing with the situation, and the captors. All seemed like real people that were dealing with real conflicts within. I loved the check showing up on the door anonymously. I have experienced this type of generosity. Uplifting? - Definitely! - for those that have ears to hear and eyes to see and hearts to understand. The direction and cinematography were beautiful. I loved the way that they put their trust in the Lord and through small and simple means was there hope and faith confirmed. I will definitely go see this again!

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 3:07 p.m.

    MapleDon and Chris B.

    In any art form audience members react differently based on personal life experiences. Just because your experiences do not make this film palatable to you does not give you an authoritative opinion, just a personal one.

    I have never served a mission, but have sons who will and a husband and brothers who did. This story was compelling to me, the reason these men served missions, and continued to after their kidnapping, is impressive. I believe this film was well done and genuinely moving for those of us who understand the emotions that drive missionaries and their families to make such sacrifices.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Oct. 9, 2013 2:12 p.m.

    Love the poor editing...captors it is

    For a film about an international incident, "The Saratov Approach" wisely chooses to focus its time on the missionaries and their captives.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Oct. 9, 2013 12:52 p.m.

    @ Chris B
    Peoples spiritual (or emotional) moments are deeply personal. For you to say that it is a person caving to pressure is quite rude. Do you know every experience of every individual in the LDS faith? I am LDS of my own choosing and my spiritual experiences have been strong and private no pressure to have them. A large portion of the World's population claims spiritual experiences, I doubt many come because of pressure to have a "moment".

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 9, 2013 11:16 a.m.

    Haven't seen it, nor will I, because I think MapelDon is spot on.

    Like many things in the LDS religion, there seems to be immense pressure to outwardly display emotions during key moments, and those times are later pointed to as a strong spiritual miracle. Whereas in reality its usually nothing more than one person caving to the pressure to become emotional.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    Oct. 9, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    And I should mention that when an LDS film is released, of course DesNews shares a story about it, then it receives more comments than all of the Lord of the Rings films did combined.

    It's a marketing effort employed to simulate "buzz". In the end, however, the movies all bomb at the movie theaters and make money being sold as DVDs.

    Seems to me they're following the Weinstein's approach. Create a lot of buzz, but no one sees the film.

  • RCT-DMD Chesterfield, VA
    Oct. 9, 2013 10:37 a.m.

    I also saw an advanced screening a couple of weeks ago. This movie blew me away. Very Powerful and Uplifting. The best "LDS-themed" film I have ever seen. I would gladly pay to see it again. I hope it comes to a theater near me in Virginia so I can share it with my friends and neighbors!

  • abrielsdad Orem, UT
    Oct. 9, 2013 10:05 a.m.

    I saw a trailer for this movie several weeks ago, so when an opportunity to see one of the advanced screenings became available to me, I jumped at it. From the trailer, I inferred a particular outcome, and felt some disappointment in that, yet was still very interested in seeing it. When I saw the movie, I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that what I had inferred was not how it played out in real life. I happen to be LDS, but whether I was or wasn't, I'm confident that I would have really enjoyed it. As evidence of that, I took my non-LDS brother to another screening and he really enjoyed it as well. This is a really well made movie on all levels, and for me it was extremely faith promoting and validating. I intend to see it again this weekend, and will certainly add it to my DVD collection when it comes out in stores.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    Oct. 9, 2013 9:47 a.m.

    I was fortunate to get a free pass to see this movie.

    To put it as kindly as possible, I've not been a fan of LDS-themed movies for several reasons and unfortunately this film didn't help. I still keep an open mind that someday things will change. But they haven't.

    If you ever saw the series "24", then you can see where this film's producers got their inspiration. In that series, there were a few duds. Some where I felt my time had been abused.

    Such is this film.

    The elements of LDS films are nearly identical. They always include crying (and trying to force the viewer to cry), praying, pushing and shoving, throwing books, and a level of seriousness to the point of being obsessive. Contrived? Absolutely.

    Yes, I did laugh...once. When Alex Veadov first appeared on the screen as "the bad guy", I laughed, and when I laughed a few others did as well.

    Look, this movie is not good cinema. But if people want cheap LDS-themed entertainment, here you go.