Tangerines Movie Review
Subtitles be damned, Tangerines is a movie worth seeing. About two soldiers from opposing sides who gradually discover that their differences aren’t entirely insurmountable, the Estonian war drama is a beautiful, simply told tale.
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Tangerines is far superior to winner Ida--especially when it comes to pure entertainment value. Writer/director Zaza Urushadze paints on a small canvas, depicting rich characters against beautiful backdrops and intimate settings. Combined with intoxicating music by Niaz Diasamidze, Tangerines fits a lot of greatness into its brief 85-minute runtime, much of which takes place inside the confines of a single house.
The setup for the film has certainly been done before--Tangerines isn’t the first movie to explore the dynamics between two sworn enemies--but the cast is terrific, making the most of this “little” film. Lembit Ulfsak is great, though Giorgi Nakashidze steals the show with his powerful performance as Ahmed, who struggles to overcome his biases and perceptions.
The ending--both the climax and denouement--really hit home, too. Tangerines isn’t the most emotional of films, but the characters and their relationships are believable, realistic and touching.
Tangerines is a wonderfully made drama. What it lacks in true originality it makes up for in other ways.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.