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Toronto True Crime Film Festival 2018 Review: “Hostages” (2017) ★★


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It was not that easy to leave during the Soviet Union regime. Even though some privileged and wealthy family thought they had opportunities others didn’t, they still were on the same level as everyone else – with no freedom whatsoever. They could travel only within the territorial boundary allowed by the rule of Soviets and KGB was monitoring everyone so closely that even a fly would talk if it was necessary to obtain the necessary information to prosecute anyone even for a minor offence.

“Hostages” from Rezo Gigineishvili is based on true events that took place back in 1983 when a group of seven young Georgians had so much desire in their heart to escape the Soviets, they decided to do it by hijacking an airline. However, nothing goes as expected as right at the start innocent lives are claimed and the Soviet special forces had no options left but to storm the airlines which resulted in eight people dead.

Well, here is an interesting thing that the film offers – far from what the officials would tell about the true events. As the director tries to avoid controversy in the film, he spends around fifty minutes to explain the reasons why Nika, Irakli, Sandro and the others decided to flee away from Georgia and pursue a better life in the Western World. As it was clear that no amount of money could provide the freedom which the youth were being denied, the film does not seem to want to broaden the subject matter to the level that can challenge both decisions – why the airline needed to be hijacked in the first place and the reason why the government decided to execute the hijackers just like that, without the option for the parents to claim their bodies afterwards.

As there are bigger questions than what “Hostages” could possibly answer, it was still a nice attempt to emphasise the value of freedom and why it cannot be compromised by any amount of money available in a bank account. But there was something missing in the film I quite can’t figure it out which I hope, you, my dear reader can help me out with. Even though the beginning of the film was interesting, it did not succeed at keeping the same working pace all the way till the end. By the time when twenty minutes was left for the film to end, the writer or the director tried to rush things, leaving no opportunity for the viewer to grasp the moment and land on a logical conclusion. But other than that, it’s still not a bad movie, but could’ve been way better than it was if the material given was handled properly.

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