Gabe Polsky's The Red Army takes an in depth look at the Soviet Union from the late 1970s through the early 1990s, chronicling arguably the greatest sports dynasty of all time - The Red Army hockey team. Red Army is not a sports film but a film that is a reminder of how sports can be a catalyst for social and cultural movements, with this hockey team's story running parallel to the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. Told primarily from the perspective of Slava Fetisov, the premier defensiveman and team captain, The Red Army captures the culture clash between communist Soviet Union and capitalist United States of America and how a hockey team became the Soviet Union's main propaganda tool for the Soviet way of life. With The Red Army team's dominance in International play the Soviet Union government recognized how powerful a tool these players could provide, a propaganda tool used for patriotism and communism, that also left many of these players going from national heroes to political enemies. Slava Fetisov's journey in particular is a powerful one, a man who essentially stood up to the Soviet Union's system in an effort go gain his independence to play in the NHL, being a man that certainly helped pave the way for change in the Soviet Union. Fetisov's screen presence alone throughout the film is fascinating, a stern man that was shaped and molded by the Soviet system in his youth, reflecting on his country and how far they've come. For a documentary consisting entirely of stock footage and one-on-one interviews, Gabe Polsky's The Red Army is a very tense and engaging film that keeps the viewer's pulse pounding from start to finish.
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