The Battle of Stalingrad is a metaphor for colossal perseverance; the Herculean strength of the dedicated; outnumbered, starving, obstinately denying the German forces a victory . The battle lasted from August 23rd,1942, until February 2nd,1943. The annihilation of the German army (led by doomed Field Marshall Paulus) heralded Germany’s deserved demise. The loss of life, over a million souls, has never been positively calculated but for six months a city named for Joseph Stalin, on the banks of the Volga River, was ruled by the “god of carnage”.
Fedor Bondarchuk son of Sergi Bondarchuk (“War and Peace”) directs the first Russian 3-D film focusing on the last days of this horrific siege; a glorious city bifurcated by patriots and menacing, violating Germans. Blistering, bombastic action inform a simplistic plot revolving around war’s travails and two Russian women: one, a solitary, gutsy girl, refusing to leave her skeleton of a home; the other a femme fatale who has ensnared the devotion of a German general.
“Stalingrad”, despite protean efforts, is far too ambitions to attain greatness (although a huge blockbuster in Russia); minimally defined, the Russians coated in filth, tug gently at our sensibilities; German officers problematically portrayed more grey than black; more human than fiend.
History buffs might take umbrage at Bondarchuk’s “poetic license”; all will be mesmerized by the stunning battle: explosions, implosions, hand-to-hand confrontations, human conflagrations; three- dimension poll -vaults the viewer into the rubble –strewn, smoke-infested death throes of a city destined to rise from the ashes, attaining immortality.