Letter Never Sent (Neotpravlennoye pismo) Reviews

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flixsterman
Super Reviewer
½ October 4, 2009
Stark, raw and a little artsy. Fantastic performances all-around.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
December 10, 2010
"The Letter That Was Never Sent" is an awesomely shot but politically troubling tale of three geologists and their guide who are searching for diamonds in the pristine wilderness of Siberia.(Two of whom, Andrei(Vasili Livanov) and Tanya(Tatyana Samojlova,) are in love.) In summer, they have no luck, so they decide to stay until fall when curiosity turns into obsession.

In America, the above plot could well have been about greed. In the Soviet Union, all four characters are devoted to serving the State(The movie is dedicated to all such explorers.) which is noble, I guess, but personal safety should always be a consideration. And a bigger factor than nationality should be the earth and the care it requires. I say that knowing the environmental movement does not happen until at least ten years after this movie was made, but some thought should have been given to the natural beauty that could be ruined by any diamond mining.

(Originally reviewed in the blog section on January 28, 2008.)
Super Reviewer
½ December 5, 2011
While a very sobbering film and one that really packs quite a lot of melodrama into it's short running time, Letter Never Sent is a very artistic work with a few things going for it. The cinematography is amazing and really captures nature in both a very serene and dangerous way through long shots and tracking shots of the vast landscape the explorers are within. The POV changes constantly in the film altering between scenic long shots to the varying characters point of views both in their normal interactions as well as being carried or finally succumbing to exhaustion. It really does add a very unique and personal perspective to the filming and the viewpoint of the person watching. It is tributed to explorers everywhere and the Soviet Union in which the characters say numerous times that they are conducting the geological search for the betterment of the movement. Taken as a tale of survival though, which it ends up truly being, the film is wonderfully done and very artistically captured.
Super Reviewer
½ December 5, 2011
While a very sobbering film and one that really packs quite a lot of melodrama into it's short running time, Letter Never Sent is a very artistic work with a few things going for it. The cinematography is amazing and really captures nature in both a very serene and dangerous way through long shots and tracking shots of the vast landscape the explorers are within. The POV changes constantly in the film altering between scenic long shots to the varying characters point of views both in their normal interactions as well as being carried or finally succumbing to exhaustion. It really does add a very unique and personal perspective to the filming and the viewpoint of the person watching. It is tributed to explorers everywhere and the Soviet Union in which the characters say numerous times that they are conducting the geological search for the betterment of the movement. Taken as a tale of survival though, which it ends up truly being, the film is wonderfully done and very artistically captured.
May 26, 2013
A group of four geologists sets out to the Siberian forests looking in a desperate search for diamonds. Having found them and drawn up a map, the four have to fight forest fires and terrible natural conditions for return home safe and sound. There are dramatic elements that keep this story interesting on a narrative scale. But what is truly remarkable is the constantly moving wonderful cinematography that adds intensity and rhythm to the story which, as it progresses, changes from realist to impressionistic.
November 30, 2012
The acting is overblown, but with occasional flashes of brilliance. The plot for the first 2/3 is week and disconnected, but becomes tragically deep and moving. This was without a doubt a tough film to make, and the film construction is stunning. Not a great movie, but one well worth seeing.
November 22, 2012
Technically impressive downer of a film.
November 16, 2012
The plot seems like a vehicle for the beautiful cinematography. Not to say the story isn't interesting or well done. It is, though a bit simple and predicatable. The acting is good, but everything takes a back seat to the amazing visuals. Beautiful mountains, an epic forest fire, the destroyed landscape, and Siberian winter.
½ July 29, 2012
It champions the socialist rhetoric of the Soviet Union but the film is Russian & was made at the height of the Cold War so in my opinion that's only fitting. Those elements are there but I feel that Mikhail Kalatozov makes it his purpose, ultimately a covert effort, to transcend any agenda & the results are a beautifully filmed & haunting portrait of the human condition. Whether it's sacrifice or survival. It's an arduous film going experience. At the halfway mark I couldn't imagine I'd ever watch a Letter Never Sent ever again. By the end I felt, "how could I not?"
April 30, 2012
Four geologists trying to find diamonds in the Siberian tundra get themselves into a life-or-death situation in a forest fire. Like in the other films of his that I've seen, director Mikhail Kalatozov once again demonstrates that he is a real cinematic master. This survival film features some stunning on-location work, jaw-droppingly gorgeous cinematography and inventive use of editing and dissolves. Beyond that, the compelling survival story still shines through.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
December 10, 2010
"The Letter That Was Never Sent" is an awesomely shot but politically troubling tale of three geologists and their guide who are searching for diamonds in the pristine wilderness of Siberia.(Two of whom, Andrei(Vasili Livanov) and Tanya(Tatyana Samojlova,) are in love.) In summer, they have no luck, so they decide to stay until fall when curiosity turns into obsession.

In America, the above plot could well have been about greed. In the Soviet Union, all four characters are devoted to serving the State(The movie is dedicated to all such explorers.) which is noble, I guess, but personal safety should always be a consideration. And a bigger factor than nationality should be the earth and the care it requires. I say that knowing the environmental movement does not happen until at least ten years after this movie was made, but some thought should have been given to the natural beauty that could be ruined by any diamond mining.

(Originally reviewed in the blog section on January 28, 2008.)
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