Children Of Glory (Szabadsag, Szerelem) (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner12/03/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 123 mins

Watchable thriller with impeccable production design and strong performances but it occasionally feels cliched and perfunctory and never really engages on an emotional level.

What's it all about?
Set in Budapest in 1956, Children of Glory stars Ivan Fenyo as Karcsi, a young water polo player looking forward to the upcoming Olympic Games in Melbourne. However, he gets into trouble when his Russian opponents cheat during a match and he ends up thumping the referee, which in turn leads to him being questioned by the secret police.

As the student revolt against the Soviet occupation grows, Karcsi finds himself drawn into the resistance movement, spurred on by both his angry grandfather (Tamas Jordan) and his lust for politically active Viki (Kata Dobo), a fellow student who's only interested in potential revolutionaries. Meanwhile the Russians continue to terrorise the population and Karcsi and his teammates decide that the Melbourne Olympics might be the appropriate place for a public protest.

The Good
Directed by Krisztina Goda from a screenplay originated by Hungarian-born Joe Ezsterhas, Children of Glory was a huge hit in its native Hungary and was well received when it played at the Edinburgh Film Festival last year. Ivan Fenyo and Kata Dobo are superb as the two leads and the production design is impeccable throughout.

The Bad
In some ways, this is reminiscent of Paul Verhoeven's Black Book, which was also a glossy historical drama set against an important historical backdrop. However, unlike Verhoeven's film, Children of Glory fails to generate any real sense of danger or excitement, frequently resorting to cliched subplots and occasionally trying to do too many things at once. That said, the film is entirely watchable throughout and there are several good scenes, even if it never quite grabs hold of you on an emotional level.

Worth seeing?
In short, Children of Glory is well made, watchable drama with strong performances, though it lacks emotional depth and occasionally feels a little bit like a history lesson.

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Content updated: 19/07/2018 17:59

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