After some years of taking a back seat to more Westernized thinking, the Kremlin looks like it’s pushing propaganda again. But this time around it’s being craftier, apparently lending aid to at least one thriller that toes the party line.
Take December’s release of Yevgeny Lavrentyev‘s “Die Hard”-style thriller “Countdown.” Pic, starring Louise Lombard, follows a rogue FSB (ex-KGB) officer who prevents an international terrorism incident. It draws on real-life events and reshapes them the way Russian authorities would like them to have turned out.
In the pic, government agencies are amazingly efficient, hostages are rescued with minimal casualties and terrorists are caught and eliminated.
During the storming of a circus by Special Forces — a scene that chillingly recalls the Dubrovka Theater siege by Chechen separatists two years ago — few hostages are killed. The real-life Dubrovka incident left 129 dead.
Pic even references an evil Russian with dodgy business connections who works out of London — clearly meant to be former media oligarch Boris Berezovsky.
The film cost $7 million — a fortune by local standards — but its real production values are harder to quantify.
Instead of CGI or special effects for its substantial action sequences, it uses real military hardware, including crashing two cargo planes in one breathtaking scene. Productions without Kremlin connections would find it hard to land such aid.
Observers are asking whether similar aid went to last year’s “Moscow Heat,” in which Michael York teams with a rogue Moscow cop, played by bodybuilder Alexander Nevsky, to foil gangsters with access to nukes.