The painting is almost 20 years old, it was popular at the beginning of the century. At that time, peace in Chechnya was far away, and Sergei Bodrov was considered a cult actor. Dirt, captivity, deprivation, death, meanness – all this is “War”. For two hours, the viewer will plunge into the Russian reality of the zero years. For 10 years there has been a military conflict in the Caucasus. For some, this is a struggle for freedom, for others, the destruction of bandits. And it’s also money that you can earn. But it’s much easier to lose everything in the pursuit of cash.
The story is led by the protagonist, giving a report from prison. Ivan Ermakov served in Chechnya, his truck was ambushed. The guy was waiting for captivity along with Fedya, a simple conscript. Field commander Aslan Gugaev is a typical representative of that time. His small detachment was based in a mountain village, he earned money not only from the war, but also from entrepreneurship. In addition to preparing firewood and working in the field, Vanya helped the bandits set up the Internet via satellite. The guy had a certain level of knowledge, his superficial English allowed him to communicate with new captives from Great Britain. John Boyle and Margaret Mikaelson are simple artists kidnapped for ransom.
Daring adventures, or lack of alternatives?
After some time, Vanya and Fedya are transported to another village, where they meet the wounded captain Medvedev. Aslan needs money, for the sake of them he releases John for 2 months. The foreigner needs to collect two million pounds sterling, only this will save his beloved Margaret from captivity. Freedom awaits ordinary soldiers, for whose sake no one will give a ransom. On the way home, Yermakov makes a stop in St. Petersburg, where he visits the family of Captain Medvedev. From a conversation with his wife, the demobilized soldier understands that the leadership does not seek to rescue the officer from captivity.
The Englishman hurries home, but no one is ready to help him. The sale of property will bring only a fraction of the amount required, and a royal decree does not allow paying money to terrorists for ransom. He even visits NATO headquarters and asks for a missile attack on the bandits’ lair. There is only a commercial offer from a wealthy TV company, which is ready to pay him 200 thousand for a detailed filming of all the adventures that await him in Russia. He will shoot all the key moments of the “operation” on a miniature gadget, the video materials will subsequently become known to the whole world. Boyle has only one friend, who at this time is trying to arrange life after demobilization.
Ivan does not find proper use for himself in his native land. The work of a loader does not suit him, and as a programmer they are afraid to accept him. All employers are afraid of the military past, captivity always affects the psyche. Parents are ordinary people, drinking father in the hospital. There is a loving girl, but they have nowhere to live. The only entertainment is gatherings with friends by the fire with a bottle of vodka.
After a stay in Moscow and a visit to the FSB, John rushes to Tobolsk. He finds Ivan, asks him to turn the case to save the bride. The foreigner was promised an intermediary on the territory of Chechnya, the task of a captive friend was simply to be a translator and consultant. And for the services of the guy waiting for a fantastic fee. Their path lies through the capital, where they acquire a hunting rifle, knives, military equipment for a long and dangerous journey.
A stop in Vladikavkaz makes adjustments to their plan. After meeting with an intermediary from the FSB, Yermakov realizes that this is a trap and fraud by high-ranking officers. Decided to act on their own, on a military truck they secretly penetrate into a hostile and dangerous land. It is impossible to overcome a long road without transport; during the capture of an SUV, they accidentally kill a woman. The Englishman is tormented by his conscience, and Ivan reassures him: “This is a war, you decided to save your beloved – shoot!” But now they are armed to the teeth, the car belonged to an inveterate bandit who sold ammunition.
On the way to the village of Aslan, our heroes take a local shepherd prisoner, Ruslan Shamaev must show the way to the village with the hostages. The mountaineer is forced to help – he mistook the Englishman for a NATO soldier. The attack on the terrorists’ lair does not happen immediately, Ivan decides to wait for the departure of the bulk of the fighters. At the right time, our small team cracks down on the bandits. Margaret is alive, but she has already been abused. Out of rage, John kills Gugaev, which complicates the situation. The ringleader was necessary for Ivan to cover, it was the guarantor of their return and withdrawal from hostile territory.
Friends are saved on a makeshift raft, an old fortress becomes their refuge. A satellite phone, which belonged to the leader of the bandits, helps to call the regular army. Medvedev was able to reach his unit through fighting friends. Attack from the air is the best means in such conditions. The heroes are saved, the helicopter delivers everyone to the military base. Ivan receives a solid reward, he gives Ruslan a thousand pounds for his help. Everything else goes to Medvedev’s treatment.
One is war, the other is prison
The rescued lady never married John. But he brought excellent video material for the TV channel, wrote a book about adventures in distant Russia. All his expenses were justified, and the whole world saw the documentary. This was the reason for initiating a criminal case against Yermakov. No one stood up for him, except Medvedev. Ruslan came to court and testified against him. The guy was sentenced to a long term for the murder of civilians in the Russian Federation.
The plot of the picture has two subtexts. The tape describes the mysterious Russian soul, its disinterestedness and simplicity, its willingness to take risks for the sake of strangers. A more serious conclusion is the words of Gugaev at the very beginning. The terrorist boasts that he has a business in the capital, squanders the federal budget, profits from robbery and kidnappings. As long as greedy and stupid people are in power, he will milk the Russians like goats. His remarks are still relevant today.