Winter on Fire (2015) Movie Review: Watch the World Burn

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for unmistakable brutality

Take a Drink: for unmistakable solidarity

Take a Drink: for each display of the map

Take a Drink: for master MacGyvering

Take a Drink: for The Littlest Revolutionary

Do a Shot: for the most intense game of Red Rover ever

Do a Shot: yes, that Vitali Klitschko

Community Review

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1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Movie Review

By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –

While the fires raged at the Maidan, I was in a hotel room in Central Russia, watching the news make passing mention of it in favor of Olympic highlights.  Over my ensuing year living in Russia, that would flip-flop, with news of the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine everywhere coloring many of my interactions with my students- never hostile, but always just… there.  I heard many justifications, some of which made some sense (cultural ties that stretch back before even England, much less the U.S., was a glimmer in history’s eye) and some that didn’t (peacekeeping, my ass).  One thing that was certain, though- I never saw footage like that featured in Winter on Fire on the news while in Russia.

winter-on-fire-2

Somewhat thankfully

Winter on Fire tells the story of the thousands of protesters in Kiev’s Maidan Square, who refused to back down under brutal, even fatal attacks from state police because they were tired of seeing a government play lip service to moving towards the European Union while succumbing to Russian pressure to do just the opposite.

A Toast

This documentary is not for the faint of heart.  It does not shy away from the utter chaos, terror, and real, unignorable blood- sickly congealing like no karo syrup ever will.  We are in the smartphone age, and this is how revolutions are conducted now- in full view of the world, with no MPAA-friendly cuts or prepackaged adrenalized horror bullshit. This is what real violence looks like, and it’s ugly and disgusting, and heartbreaking if you have any heart to break.

youtube_logoYour censors have no chance.

If you can watch, however, you will see history in the making, of the rousing, flag-waving variety.  While this film isn’t really one for geopolitical nuance (more on that below), it’s not trying to be- and no matter the intended angle, footage of thousands of unarmed people facing down bullets instead of facing down a future of more corruption and criminality from their leaders has no angle.  Their solidarity is incredible to witness, and even above the intriguing insights of how the Ukrainian Orthodox Church sides with the people over the existing power structure (unlike Russia, where the Church could not be more ingrained into the existing power structure) or how many protesters continued at the Maidan because they thought they literally could not turn back (their only protection being their peers, and not their homes where the police could find them), it’s the simple images of a sea of humanity just not willing to take it anymore that pack the real punch.

Beer Two

There’s most definitely an angle.  There’s not really any attempt to present a view of what the other side might have been thinking, or even their motivations, and no attempt to acknowledge the ethnic, political, or cultural nuances of the situation is made either.

Ukraine Protests

Granted, shooting at unarmed civilians doesn’t present much nuance.

Beer Three

Some flashy editing and an opening coda that either doesn’t tell newswatchers anything new or doesn’t tell the uninformed much of anything at all don’t help shake the impression that this is just short of propaganda.  To answer an argument I recently had with my wife, propaganda is propaganda, no matter how noble the cause underpinning it.

Verdict

Winter on Fire is a shocking, inspiring document of social unrest and pure human bravery.

3beers

About Henry J. Fromage

Movieboozer is a humor website and drinking games are intended for entertainment purposes only, please drink responsibly.

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