A group of American doctors travel to a war-ravaged hot spot in the Middle East in order to distribute vaccines. They clash with the Russian military presence, the Middle Eastern locals, ...
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A group of American doctors travel to a war-ravaged hot spot in the Middle East in order to distribute vaccines. They clash with the Russian military presence, the Middle Eastern locals, and ultimately, themselves, as they learn that being American heroes is not so easy as they thought. Before they can save the world, they have to save themselves.Written by
Neil Patrick Stewart
"Strangers" to whom, to what ? It's easy to shut the issue up by calling "The strangers" (Chuzhie) by Russian Director Yuri Grumov a piece of Russian Anti-American propaganda. But is it really ? The message the movie delivers sounds rather like "Sin estranges people one from another" than "Americans are daemons". The movie title means first of all "strangers to each other". It's a moralistic research journey into the world of relationships between humans united on the mission with the motto "America must act !". If you would like to know what is it like I would compare this work to the "The Island" with Di Caprio. Corrupt human relations ruin life even in the paradise (The Island), and even on the noble mission (The Strangers). But "The Strangers" go a bit further in exposing the decease: when sin becomes a norm (like relationship of gay doctors) and is no more treated as sin then truth leaves the place, noble doing looses sense, aggression turns against the weakest, charity becomes hypocritical, family is destroyed. The grotesque portrayal of US team members serves not propagandistic aims, but helps to reveal the message which is universal in any nation. They are not caricatures, but pure types. We know that pure types rarely exist in real life. Same is applied to the Russians (de-miner squad) who appear just in several short episodes, the only aim of which is to create the contrast, and to show what a real human relationship should be. It's quite universal. I agree that this movie will hardly be appreciated in the West, nobody likes to recognize himself in grotesque, but it will come very useful to a Russian spectator who has to face the influence of Western culture stereotypes every day. Yuri Grymov has done work worth of Fyodor Dostoevsky. A very pure, very responsible, work with a great sympathy to the truth. Drunk and speaking one-liners Russian commissars from "RAMBO" and the stuff, shall not be brought forth as the justification of "The Strangers". "The Strangers" is not in any way a revenge for the goofy or evil Russian characters in the cold war era blockbusters. It's a serious work that sources it's inspiration in the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Orthodox Christianity. If you want a Russian spoof of RAMBO please watch "The sole cruise" (Odinochnoe plavanie). If you still feel offended, think rather of "Gulag Archipelago". It would be a just cultural exchange. Very probably Yuri Grymov made only one mistake calling Americans Americans and Russians Russians. But if he cloaked the story in the fantasy names (like Orks and Hobbyts) would it spare the movie from the Russian anti-American propaganda charges ? But how to speak on the problem then ? Our strangers are lost to the truth in their own understanding of what truth is. American Jesus has little to do with real Jesus. I've heard this several times from Americans. So, after all, that makes me believe "The Strangers" have some chance with the American audience.
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