Coming to theatres from director Garrett Batty and Three Coin Productions is the true event that took THE SARATOV APPROACH.
This film tells the story of LDS missionaries Tuttle (Corbin Allred) and Propst (Maclain Nelson) who are serving in Russia. Excited to be doing their work, both men take every opportunity to meet people.
Getting ready to leave for the day they meet Nikolai (Nikita Bogolyubov), a young man who asks if they will come to his home. Both men agree but on the way Propst gets a feeling that perhaps they should go another time.
In an instant they are beaten and taken by car to the middle of nowhere. Nikolai takes orders from the very angry man Sergei (Alex Veadov) who wants money in exchange for the two men’s release.
But the United States doesn’t negotiate and the two men are often threatened with their lives. Ready for the outcome, the two men talk of home and their faith. With each passing day they begin to accept what may happen to them.
But God had other plans.
FINAL WORD: Allred as Tuttle, in the beginning, was the rock of this partnership. It is not to say he didn’t have fear for the situation but kept a level head. Listening to him share his story wasn’t preachy in the slightest, which kept my interest in their feelings and in the situation. In the moments he wavered it would be the man next to him that offered a shoulder for strength.
Nelson as Propst, in the beginning, was the panic stricken side of the partnership. Slowly his character finds it within himself to talk about what led him to Russia and his fears. At one point Propst must decide whether to stay or run and I have to say this is a scene that has to be seen to be experienced!
Bogolyubov as Nikolai is a compassionate man and it quickly becomes obvious that he is not the ‘brains’ of the operation. As each day passes, Nikolai wants to remove himself from what is happening and Sergei’s anger.
Veadov as Sergei is a very scary figure! He has the look of a crazed man who trusts in the stereotypical beliefs that all Americans have money. When he is denied repeatedly it becomes clear the tiger is feeling the bars of his own cage. From one moment to the next Veadov portrays a man who is unexpected and dangerous.
Other cast include: Shawn Carter as Agent Ross, Christopher S. Clark as Agent Bair, Jennifer Erekson as Mary Propst, Bart Johnson as Senator Smith, Peggy Matheson as Donna Tuttle, Brett Merritt as Mark Larsen, Rocky Myers as Agent Miller, Bruce Newbold as Lee Propst and Brit Server as Agent Garza.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE SARATOV APPROACH three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. This is an inspirational story and it’s true! What these two men endured brought unexpected outcomes for everyone involved.
It must have been difficult for the families to make decisions regarding what they could and could not do for their sons. I cannot even fathom having to make that choice – and seeing the film brings into question of what we would do for those we love.
The combination of Allred and Nelson give believability to characters that are real. That can be difficult sometimes in these types of films but these actors play off one another and it works beautifully.
Filmed in Salt Lake City, Utah with the grayish tint of winter the director could have said it was Russia and I would have believed him. The lack of color allows the audience to stay focused the intensity of this amazing story.
It is a story of hope and definitely a family film that teaches lessons of friendship, love and staying true to one’s beliefs when it could be so easy not to.
In the end – they were kidnapped, ransomed and saved!
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