Connect with us
Klondike
Image Courtesy of Sundance

Culture

Klondike Presents an Ongoing Conflict with Patience and Ferocity

Maryna Er Gorbach’s latest feature holds no punches in its portrayal of expecting parents navigating the terrifying realities of war.

Sundance 2022: Klondike Review

Bookended by two incredibly harrowing moments, Maryna Er Gorbach’s Klondike captures a resiliency in the midst of the Russo-Ukrainian war. Only in its infancy, instability begins taking hold on two expecting parents’ lives as they try to keep their home that resides near the border to Russia safe from bombs and invading Russian soldiers. An eye-opening look at an ongoing conflict happening today, Klondike holds nothing back in presenting a stark portrait of life in a war-torn village.

The opening unbroken shot in Klondike sets the stage for the events about to completely upend Tolik (Sergey Shadrin) and Irka’s (Oxana Cherkashyna) lives. Nothing has been peaceful since the Donbas war began and their home found itself located right in the middle of the conflict. Irka is pregnant, expecting the child to be born soon, while Tolik is wondering how he’s going to keep her safe while navigating the hostile land they now find themselves inhabiting. In an attempt to take Irka to a hospital, their home is suddenly destroyed by falling debris.

Klondike
Image Courtesy of Sundance

Gorbach’s latest film is a languidly paced, heartbreaking account of trying to live life on the frontlines. It’s dark opening sequence only escalates with each moment that passes. Beginning on July 17, 2014, Klondike sets itself during one of the more destructive moments early in the Donbas war as a Russian anti-aircraft missile shoots down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, killing 283 passengers and 15 crew members. Gorbach doesn’t just employ these moments for shock value; she builds tension in the atmosphere. The death toll of the film has suddenly risen exponentially and right above their home. They find themselves in a surreal, dangerous moment.

Since most of Klondike feels like it takes place in real time, it can be a slightly demanding watch, especially as Tolik and Irka’s marriage strains itself under the pressures of an upcoming child and a war they can’t seem to escape. Added to the tension is Irka’s brother, Yaryk (Oleg Shcherbina), who arrives at their home and begins suspecting that Tolik might be supporting the Russians. 

While the conflict itself is Ukraine versus Russia, it’s the personal struggles that give Klondike a nuanced depiction of people forced to confront the violence consuming the world around them. Cherkashyna’s performance is difficult to witness. Embodying a reluctance to move forward and the terror of the circumstances surrounding her, she imbues Irka with a stoic pain that seems unimaginable to bear. The entire situation becomes a waking nightmare and at the heart of it is Irka who struggles to accept that her world is being torn apart but still soldiers on in the face of uncertainty.

Klondike
Image Courtesy of Sundance

Klondike is devastating, and its ending only solidifies the film as a crucial portrayal of the ongoing real-life turmoil happening in Ukraine. The war consumes the entirety of the film, making it difficult to understand Irka’s torment in the midst of a hostile occupation, but the steadfastness she shows is the heartbeat of Gorbach’s film. A decisively antiwar film that hinges upon the personal scale of conflict, Klondike portrays the inadvertent impact of war that disregards human life for national dominance.

The 2022 Sundance Film Festival will be held January 20-30 online and on Satellite Screens across the United States. For more info, please visit the official website.

Written By

Chris is a graduate of Communications from Simon Fraser University and resides in Victoria, British Columbia. Given a pint, he will talk for days about action films, video games, and the works of John Carpenter.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Facebook

Trending

Beyond The Black Rainbow – Austere, Cerebral, and Sometimes Maddening

Film

Oz Pilot The Routine review Oz Pilot The Routine review

Oz: Revisiting the Pilot Episode of HBO’s Darkest Show

TV

50 Best HBO Shows of All Time 50 Best HBO Shows of All Time

50 Best HBO Shows of All Time (Part 2)

Culture

The Shield TV Pilot Marked the Start of the Golden Age for television The Shield TV Pilot Marked the Start of the Golden Age for television

The Shield TV Pilot Marked the Start of the Golden Age of Television

TV

Star Wars Lightsaber Duels Ranked Star Wars Lightsaber Duels Ranked

15 Best Star Wars Lightsaber Duels Ranked

Film

50 Best HBO Shows of All Time 50 Best HBO Shows of All Time

50 Best HBO Shows of All Time (Part 1)

TV

The Wire Season 1 and 2 The Wire Season 1 and 2

20 Years Later, The Wire’s Genre Filmmaking is Still Unmatched (Part 1)

TV

Best of the Wire Best of the Wire

The Best of The Wire: A Superlative List

TV

Apple TV+’s The Big Conn is a Compelling but Overlong True Crime Series  

TV

We Own This City: Why You Should Be Watching the Anticipated Spiritual Sequel to The Wire

Culture

Jerry West and Mob Hits: HBO’s Winning Time and What Really Happened

TV

The Wire Season 3 The Wire Season 3

20 Years Later, The Wire’s Genre Filmmaking is Still Unmatched (Part 2)

TV

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness review Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness review

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a Multiverse Muddle 

Film

The Fifth Element retrospective The Fifth Element retrospective

The Fifth Element 25 Years Later: Still One of the Greatest Space Operas Ever

Film

best and worst of Star Trek best and worst of Star Trek

The Best and Worst of Star Trek

TV

The Wire Season 4 review The Wire Season 4 review

20 Years Later, The Wire’s Genre Filmmaking is Still Unmatched (Part 3)

TV

Connect