Monday, November 24, 2014

The Saratov Approach

Summary:  On what seemed like any other day, Elders Travis Tuttle (Corbin Allred) and Andrew Propst (Maclain Nelson) are approached by Nikolai (Nikita Bogolyubov) to teach a friend.  But then the missionaries experience the unimaginable--they are kidnapped, beaten, and held for ransom.  While their families, friends, and the world pray for their safe release, Tuttle and Propst are tested physically, emotionally, and most of all--spiritually.  (Movie given free for review.  Summary from back of case.  Image from

My Review:  I was actually expecting a book when this came to me for review.  Instead it was the film.  This film hits close to home for me on many fronts: I'm from Oregon, and just roughly 30 minutes from where one of these Elders is from.  I was in high school when this took place.  I have many friends from this young man's home town.  I have many family members and friends who've served missions and had experiences that make this scarier than I'd like to admit.

These Elders' story is harrowing, disconcerting, and as I did more research, not nearly rare enough.  What they went through, how they dealt with it, and that they continued on their missions is an amazing story.  Many LDS films have left me thinking they could have been done far better.  I did not experience that with this film.  I left with the thought that this is something anyone of faith should see.  It's intense, but tasteful.  Realistic, but not gruesome despite what happened.  In short, it's authentic, moving, and worth your Friday night viewing.  I cannot even imagine living through this, let alone knowing that this still happens and we're just not hearing about it.  Raising awareness is always a good thing, and I highly recommend this film for just that reason alone.

For the sensitive viewer:  It's rated PG-13 for a reason.  It's scary.  There are depictions of violence and possible death.  But nothing is done distastefully or exaggerated for effect.

Rating: 5 stars

Sum it up:  One of the many hostage situations that some missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have endured through the years.

1 comment:

Sally T. said...

I really enjoyed this movie. I didn't want to watch it at first - I don't do well with movies of such intensity - but my husband asked me to join him and I did. He served in Argentina and there was a clear moment of danger when he and his companion were nearly abducted. They escaped the situation with some quick thinking. Missionaries are so often in very real, physical danger. I appreciated how this movie showed what the people at home were going through, their sorrow and faith both presented, and I read as much as I could online after finishing the movie. Great review!


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