- 1 hr 39 min
Russkies is a coming-of-age film set in the 1980s during the height of the Cold War. The movie follows three teenage boys - Adam, played by Whip Hubley, and his two friends, Kenny and Danny - as they stumble across a Soviet sailor who has washed ashore on a Florida beach. The sailor, named Mischa, is initially wary of the boys, but they manage to earn his trust and form a bond with him over the course of a few days. Mischa - who is played by a young Joaquin Phoenix - shares stories about his life in the Soviet Union with the boys, offering a rare glimpse into a world that is completely foreign to them. As the boys spend time with Mischa, they begin to question the anti-Soviet sentiment that they have been raised with. They start to see him as a person rather than as an enemy, and they begin to realize that the propaganda they've been fed may not be entirely accurate. But the boys' newfound friendship with Mischa is threatened when they are discovered by the Coast Guard. They are taken into custody and interrogated by the military, who believe that the boys are spies. Adam, Kenny, and Danny are forced to choose between telling the truth and risking Mischa's safety or lying to protect him. Throughout the film, the boys also face their own personal struggles. Adam is dealing with the recent divorce of his parents and is struggling to connect with his father, played by Peter Billingsley. Kenny is grappling with his fascination with the military, while Danny is figuring out his own identity and trying to fit in with the other kids at school. Overall, Russkies is a poignant and heartfelt film about friendship, family, and the power of empathy. It offers a unique perspective on the Cold War through the eyes of a group of teenagers who are just beginning to understand the complexities of the world around them. The performances are understated yet effective, and the film is shot beautifully, capturing the lush landscapes of Florida and the starkness of the beach where Mischa washes up. While the film may be a little slow-paced for some viewers, it offers a valuable lesson about looking past political ideologies to see the humanity in each other.