The Ascent

The Ascent ★★★★½

The Ascent, directed by Larisa Shepitko, is not only a tremendously realistic depiction of the horrors of war but also a compelling study of the human condition. Aesthetically, it is very impressive with a gorgeous and grand cinematography. There are plenty of wide shots of the vast landscapes covered by thick snow and interesting zooming techniques that were quite revolutionary for its time. You can really feel the freezing atmosphere that surrounds the characters, only making their struggle for survival even tougher. Shepitko demonstrates a great ability to keep the suspense flowing, delivering many powerful and moving moments throughout the film. Sotnikov and Rybak are very different people and their discussions were quite thought-provoking to see. While one has strong principles and is not afraid of death, the other is more desperate and might do anything to survive. Rybak is a supportive and trustworthy companion who doesn’t abandon his partner when facing life threatening situations, but he just can’t stand the idea of dying in vain. It was very intriguing seeing his constant struggle when offered a terrible way out of his grim fate. The final sequences are extremely nerve shattering, making the journey even more harrowing to the viewer.

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