Original / alternative title: 9 Rota
Running time: 140 minutes
Soviet unit in Afghanistan is given a simple task of taking over one of many hills down the vital road, but soon they discover that the reality of the Soviet-Afghan War makes every task much harder than can be expected.
In 1987 the Soviet-Afghan War was reaching the last phase - Soviet forces were trying desperately to regain initiative while mujahidin fighters with equipment supplied by Americans were trying to push invaders out of their country. The group of fresh recruits are about to start their training before joining active service. In the boot camp in Uzbekistan they are being prepared by veteran Dygalo, who’s scarred face is the first warning for them that what awaits them in Afghanistan won’t be a piece of cake. Dygalo uses brutal force to make soldiers out of them, but he was in Afghanistan and he knows that army during the war is no place for weak people. He gives them almost impossible tasks and pushes them to the limits of their abilities, but when they are about to be transferred to Afghanistan he can only hope he did all he can to prepare them. The arrival to war zone aboard transport plane was the easy way, but at the airport they meet soldiers, who have finished their tour and are about to return home. They board the same plane that brought the fresh units, but just seconds after take-off the plane is shot down by the surface-to-air missile used by the mujahidin fighters. That was their second warning...
Russian war film that takes a realistic look at the Soviet operation in Afghanistan through the eyes of young recruits, who just joined the active service and straight away they are put in the place that no one would want to be - high mountains full of enemy partisans armed with modern weapons. The film was loosely based on real events - the defence of Hill 3234 by the 9th Company of 345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment unit in 1988. The true story was made more attractive for the viewers - the characters were put in more extreme situation, the number of Soviet losses were increased - but still it is a very gripping story and shows the atmosphere of 1988 in Soviet Union, the country on the verge of collapse. Among Russian war films this one is one of the best.
Our rating: 7.6 / 10
Film value: 8 / 10
Realism factor: 4 / 5
Adventure factor: 4 / 5
Historical accuracy factor: 3 / 5
War films are not always showing the war per se - often the main theme is the influence of the conflict on lives of people involved, but also their families and friends. War is seldom a local thing - the trauma, the pain, the death they put their mark on people from around the world.
Story of the Zone