Once again, as with Battleship Potemkin (also directed by Sergei Eisenstein), a greater understanding of Russian history probably would have made this film more appealing, and more likely to hold my interest. As it is, this tale of a 13th century Teutonic knight was lost on me, and I found the whole thing dry, dull and passionless. The titular Nevsky (Nikolai Cherkasov, a mixture of Charlton Heston and Richard Branson) is a fisherman and prince of his nation who raises an army of soldiers and peasants to fight back after his beloved homeland is attacked. In said army, two soldiers compete for the hand of a girl, with the man who shows the most valour being rewarded with her marriage, though it is not mentioned how she would make such a judgement when not present during warfare. The battle scenes are too long and stagey, with actors waiting for their opponent to take their turn as though playing Final Fantasy, and everyone on one side rides off at the shout of “We have won this day,” despite the battle being far from finished, with many soldiers on the opposing side still fighting. The good and bad guys are clearly marked – no prizes for guessing the men throwing screaming children into a fire with no morsel of remorse are going to be the villains, and there’s little to really recommend about this film, especially if you know nothing about eastern European history.
Choose life 3/10