Blizzard of Souls

Directed by Dzintars Dreibergs
Film Movement
2019
123 Minutes
Latvia
Latvian
Action, Drama
Not Rated
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$4.99 3-Day Rental

Latvia's Official Submission to the Academy Awards

Blizzard of Souls pays stark witness to the horrors and brutality of the First World War, as seen through the eyes of an innocent 17-year-old farm-boy turned soldier. Though he is underage, and his dad, a former marksman, is over age for the army, they are both conscripted into one of Latvia’s first national battalions. The thrill of training is soon followed by reality, as shells burst around them in the endless mud. He grows up on the battlefield, fighting at the side of his father and brother, their lives are constantly in jeopardy.

Adapted from the book by Aleksandrs Grins, which was banned in the U.S.S.R., the story was based on Grins’ own war experiences in a Latvian battalion, and the film is the biggest box office success in Latvia in the past 30 years.

  • Highest Rating
    "...an honest yet frenzied interpretation of the veracity of warfare, with utterly breathtaking cinematography, reminiscent of the brilliance of Band of Brothers.... As the young, endearing lead, Brantevics is extraordinary...."
    Guy Lambert, The Upcoming
  • Highest Rating
    "[O]ne of the best war films of the last few years."
    Rob Aldam, Backseat Mafia
  • Highest Rating
    "Blizzard of Souls derives its power from its strong, simple depiction of war seen through the eyes of an innocent 17-year-old soldier. ...exceptionally atmospheric cinematography...."
    Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
  • Highest Rating
    "Blizzard of Souls is the top-grossing film of all time at the Latvian box office and if you had to guess at the kind of film that would inspire such nationwide enthusiasm, you’d guess it was something like this: a lavishly mounted, lion-hearted first world war epic based on a book banned by the Soviets for 60 years."
    Ellen Jones, The Guardian
  • Highest Rating
    "Thanks to Oto Brantevics’ effective and realistic performance as Arturs and a tense plot filled with brutal deaths, Dreibergs’ war drama cannot leave anyone indifferent. "
    Oleksandra Gumeniuk, Loud and Clear
  • Highest Rating
    "This lushly mounted historical drama was, not surprisingly, a huge success at the box-office in Latvia, and an impressive first feature for Latvia’s Dzintars Dreibergs."
    Meredith Taylor, Filmuforia
  • Highest Rating
    "The filmmakers are unafraid of the picturesque, lighting scenes so they resemble old-master canvases. [E]motionally powerful...."
    Mark Jenkins, Slant
  • Highest Rating
    "With its muscular direction by former documentarian Dzintars Dreibergs, atmospheric cinematography and careful attention to period detail, this account of a troop of Latvian Riflemen fighting first for the Russian Imperial Army against invading German forces and then for an independent Latvia should appeal to WWI buffs and fans of Sam Mendes’ “1917.” The convincing tech package could stand its own against Hollywood productions, while the symphonic score by composer Lolita Ritmanis (an Emmy winner for “Batman Returns”) anchors cinematographer Valdis Celmins’ epic sweep. "
    Alissa Simon, Variety
  • Highest Rating
    "This film is a quiet stunner. It's a powerful indictment of war."
    Steve Kopian, Unseen Films
  • Highest Rating
    "Mr. Dreibergs shows such skill at crafting a big-budget, multi-character, pull-out-all-the-stops war movie that I can't imagine it will be long before Hollywood comes calling. "
    James van Maanen, TrustMovies
  • Highest Rating
    "“Blizzard of Souls” maintains an undeniably raw power as a small country’s coming-of-age story, told through a bright-eyed wannabe hero and forged in a maelstrom of death and disillusionment. Latvia’s struggle has inspired a solidly realistic entry in the war film canon, one that fittingly honors Aleksandrs Grins’ testimony of living through one era of humanity at its worst."
    Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
  • Highest Rating
    "...handsome, well-acted, and expansively produced. "
    Dennis Harvey, 48hills
  • Highest Rating
    "Dreibergs excels with his measured but immersive set pieces—like one that unravels in a snowy landscape at night, best exemplifying his directorial brawn. "
    Carlos Aguilar, RogerEbert.com
  • Highest Rating
    "...engaging, beautifully shot, ambitious in scope...."
    Andrew Plimpton, Film-Forward
  • Highest Rating
    "The crowning achievement of this film is its battle scenes. In gruesome detail, we see the horrors, anxieties, and consequences of war. The way the scenes are blocked are extremely visceral and immersive. Some sequences elicit genuine fear and heart racing tension. It is easily one of the most thoroughly invigorating presentations of WWI on film. The cinematography is also extremely gorgeous. Valdis Celmins brilliantly encapsulates moods and emotions in the way he lights and frames his scenes and subjects. "
    Camden Ferrell, Disappointment Media
  • Highest Rating
    "Blizzard of Souls is a poignant, visceral, sad, and altogether inspiring war drama with a commitment to authenticity, fantastic acting, and a compelling story."
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