(This is Going Vertical film review, which is a Russian sports drama film about the controversial 1972 Basketball Olympic)
Sports drama film have always been popular worldwide, as it resonates easily with the audience of different countries. And Going Vertical is exactly that for the Russian audience, especially regarding the heroic win over the USA in the 1972 Munich Olympic.
It is directed by Anton Megerdichev, and stars a few relatively unknown actors outside Russia, such as Vladmir Mashkov, Andrey Smolyakov, Ivan Kolesnikov, Kirill Zaitswev, James Tratas, Segei Garmash, Marat Basharov, Viktoriya Tolstoganova and Aleksandra Revenko.
Without further ado, let’s delve into the Going Vertical film review below!
The story focuses on the Russian Basketball team that participated in the Olympic basketball match against the USA in Munich in 1972. It shows the origin of the team and how they worked hard to get into the final. And the story behind the controversy from the Russian Side. What would be the truths behind all of these?
Going Vertical Film Review
The premise is mostly based on real history of how the new Russian team was formed, when a new coach was called in to replace most of the original players with other players from other clubs. Since it’s mostly based on real events, it’s nothing as dramatic. But I like the film intends to show it as it is, like a slice of life.
lets us delve into their lives and make them feel relatable to us
Much of the film does not really have dramatic moments like we are accustomed to in Hollywood sports drama film. Here, we are shown through an ordinary person’s perspective of the events. Aside from the few key moments and the finale, none of the rest are exaggerated with any dramas. This makes the film feels real, and almost like a documentary film instead.
The premise covers much of the happenings, including some real-life events of the terrorist attacks on the Israeli team by a group of terrorists during the Munich Olympic. What I love to see is also the appropriate screentimes given to some of the players, which lets us delve into their lives and make them feel relatable to us. The whole premise is of course bias to the Russian side, but at least much of the story is showing what truly happened then.
Pacing is surprisingly good. It’s neither too fast or slow, or even rushed in some parts. The whole film moves quick, as the premise is already based on real-life events, so we are spared any excessive explanations on the story happenings. There are parts where the pacing is slower for more dramatic moments, but the overall the pacing just hits the right spot most of the time.
Characters are the main stars here, with the head coach and assistant head coach showing their convictions to win the Olympic, which have been laughed at by the Americans and the Russians. The actors did their great acting for the parts, showing enough emotions yet also the manliness of the Russian men in dealing with stuff.
They are not tear-jerking, but they felt real enough for us to understand
We are shown each of their reasons for wanting to win, from the coach’s desire to get enough prize money for his son’s operation, to the assistant coach’s desire to not disappoint the team and disobey order to continue to match. Then, we have other players such as Alexander Belov, who discovered he had a rare heart disease that will kill him in a year and his heartbreak to break up with long-time girlfriend. Yet, he perseveres to last through the match to win over the Americans.
The same goes for the other players where we are shown they each have reasons to win the game, and the solidarity among them is what makes them strong. These are all of the touching moments that the film depicts very well. They are not tear-jerking, but they felt real enough for us to understand how it feels to be them.
As for the Americans side, we are shown they are more underhanded in tactics. To be fair, this is a Russian film, so it maybe biased. But all’s fair in sports as it was back then, thus I felt that this part was well-shot too.
The soundtrack is more typical of those of sports drama, where they are full of energy, and with some sad tracks in-between. Overall, they are pretty decent, but thankfully not over-exaggerated any of the important scenes.