The Ascent

The Ascent ★★★★

The Ascent is a holy experience that exudes undeniable human touch, philosophical brilliance and timeless anti-war sentiments. It transcends the worldly concept of human suffering and sacrifice into something everlasting and spiritual, in the most melancholy and memorable way possible.

Set in the snow-covered Soviet wilderness, The Ascent features two Soviet soldiers' intense tasks as they fight against the relentlessness from both the nature and the pursuing Nazis. From the very beginning, The Ascent has made it clear, with its poetic, understated style and well thought-out framing, that it's going to be a Tarkovsky-lite slow-burn, rather than a confrontational Come and See or Spielberg action odyssey. We follow the two soldiers, both young and inexperienced, as they react in opposite manners towards the terror of death. It doesn't take long before the witty Christianity parallels start kicking in and offer the story a refreshing religious glow. As the protagonists experience more and more hardship from both body and soul, the viewing experience becomes more and more unnerving, until the climax scene in the end, an almost tearjerking nod to the crucification of the Christ, which is a perfect closer to this extremely respectful and also self-critical tribute. Highly recommended.

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