Saratov Approach / by Krista Boivie

Image courtesy of Three Coins Productions

Image courtesy of Three Coins Productions

Running Time: 1 hour 47 minutes

Rating: PG-13

In March of 1998, two missionaries,  Elders Propst (played by Maclain Nelson) and Tuttle (played by Corbin Allred), from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Church) were kidnapped in Saratov, Russia.  Held for a $300,000 ransom, the two Elders must  fight to keep their faith alive while all hope appears lost when the time runs out for their ransom to be paid.

Although the Saratov Approach is a decidedly religious film, don't let this be a deterrent to seeing it, because it's an excellent movie. Director Garrett Batty keeps the tension and suspense tight throughout the movie, especially after the emotionally charged opening scene.  While there are a few scenes of the missionaries' families and the reaction of the international community, the decision to keep the emotional center on the young men make for a very gripping movie. Nelson and Allred are nuanced and believable in their roles, and their captivating performances allowed me to feel their fear, faith and friendship.   

I had almost no knowledge of the true events depicted in this film prior to watching the movie, however, I suspected that seeing the movie would be an emotional journey for me.  As a Mormon, I was moved by the faith of the elders, but on a much more personal level I felt the devastation and sense of hopelessness of the families of the young men. I had a brother who was accidentally killed serving a mission for The Church, and I know how my family was emotionally shattered by the event. 

It is unfortunate that the Saratov Approach will not be available for wide-release. It was one of the most emotional movies I have seen all year and deserves to be seen by a much larger audience. A-