Ahead of it’s release this Friday, we attended the preview screening of Red Army, director Gabe Polsky’s new documentary about the Soviet Union and one of its greatest ever hockey teams, the Red Army.
Because the film is about Russian ice hockey players, but has been made by filmmakers from USA, I was fairly skeptical of Red Army from the get-go, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. A gripping tale of sports and politics, told through the eyes of the players themselves, the story traces captain Slava Fetisov’s transformation from national hero to political enemy. It’s a tragic, and at times absurd tale, and I haven’t seen a film quite as raw and powerful for a long time.
You don’t need to be an ice hockey fan to appreciate the intriguing circle of situations and emotions that the characters go through. The film carries you along on a journey of pain, disappointment and betrayal, as well as opening a window to the teams real experiences of national victory, glory and admiration.
Using unseen Soviet footage, interviews, and behind the scenes shots, the director Gabe Polsky reveals more than just a hockey game. Neither is this film just about a regime of abusive training, or what the price of glory looks like from the inside. Polsky delves into and unearths what really hides behind such a dominant team and examines its broader impact on society and the legacy it has left on the Russian culture and politics.