Tuesday, September 15, 2015

From Moscow to Detroit and Back Again: Gabe Polsky's 'Red Army' (2014)

Red Army, Gabe Poslky's 2104 documentary, hands us a heady cocktail of strong hockey suffused with bittersweet history. Man, it's chock full of pizzaz and a lot of RED. 

(Note: the great German director Werner Herzog is listed as one of the producers.) 

From this action-packed yet thoughtful film, viewers will catch a pretty good glimpse at the arc of international sports (specifically ice hockey) and dueling propaganda machines within the context of the Cold War, ranging from the 1950s to the end of the Soviet Union -- and then spilling into the 21st century. There are dramatic twists and turns, especially toward the end. Believe me, это дикая поездка.  
Red Army features two of the elite Red Army hockey team's biggest coaches, Anatoli Tarasov (1918-1995) and Viktor Tikhonov (1930-2014).  The latter comes off as a ruthless bastard, with Tarasov as the more favorably critiqued. The cagey Tarasov is shown combining disciplines, studying hockey tactics, chess strategy, the Bolshoi Ballet's precision and the energy of boogie woogie. Brilliant.   
The Red Army dudes end up playing in the NHL for a while, and five of the top guys help the Detroit Red Wings seize the Stanley cup in the late 1990s, which is when I move to Detroit and get to see them play. 

What goes around comes around -- but I won't give away the ending here or now. Who knows? Just maybe you might check it out.

Today's Rune: Breakthrough.  

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Not sure why the posters for this remind me of "Roller Ball."