Avinaba Chakraborty’s review published on Letterboxd:
One of the greatest achievements in cinematic history, a cold blooded wonder that takes us directly in the middle of the Second World War and it becomes an extremely hard hitting and gut wrenching experience, an unforgettable one.
The film begins with the journey of two Russian soldiers seeking some food in the middle of war in a Belarusian village and they make life difficult to themselves as well as others after getting captured by the Nazi army. The film revolves around the Nazi camp and digs into human behaviour and clearly it transcends into religious allegories in the second half and this was the greatest aspect of The Ascent.
With the dedication of Sotnikov and the moral weakness of Rybak or the heartlessness of local interrogator Portnov, Shepitko has expressed war's effects on different human beings. Demchikha and Basya's fate clearly reflects the horrors of war and that even innocents or underaged kids are not free from it's wrath.
If one were to list the best war movies of all time, The Ascent would come as a close second to "Apocalypse Now". A great film which is criminally underseen.