Being made in a time notorious for soviet propaganda films, Mikhail Kalatozov's Nail in the Boot is a late, nasty example. The story revolves around a heavily armored train heading through Russia that's attacked by an undefined enemy. The soldiers on the train are left stranded due to the damage, with one soldier being sent on a mission to deliver the news of the attack to his superior officers. Along the way, the soldier steps on a nail, which severely slows down his progress, enabling the enemy forces to capture the train. Due to his failures, the soldier is arrested and put on trial for his inability to effectively serve his country. Mikhail Kalatozov's Nail in Boot is a unique example of the soviet propaganda films in that it focuses its attention on every individual in society. The film argues that the success of the Soviet empire in war time isn't completely on the soldiers but the citizens of the country who manufacture and provide resources to the war effort. The story concludes with this disgraced soldier objecting to his crime, arguing that if his boot was made better, he would have never been injured. This is a film that argues that soldiers are responsible for their duties, just as workers of the Soviet Union are responsible for supplying them with the proper equipment, and only together will the country prosper against its enemies. Technically the film is impressive, with Kalatozov giving the film an incredibly dynamic quality by using powerful imagery and frantic editing. Even by today's standards, Kalatozov's Nail in Boot is an engaging and intense experience, even if its propaganda message is seriously outdated.
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