This nerve-jangling political thriller depicts a shocking true story from 1983, when a group of young middle-class Georgians attempted to hijack a plane to Turkey to escape the Soviet Union.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
Closely based on real-life events, this impressive thriller from Georgian director Rezo Gigineishvili depicts an infamous hijacking in exacting detail. In Tbilisi, Georgia, 1983, young actor Nika and his bride-to-be Ana are busy planning for their upcoming wedding, while secretly planning a drastic act to overcome the ban on Soviet citizens travelling abroad. Using their honeymoon as cover, they and five other friends, all from privileged middle-class backgrounds, plan to hijack a scheduled flight to the port city of Batumi so they can take it across the nearby border to Turkey and freedom. The stifling paranoia of their risky preparations is vividly portrayed, but it’s in the intensely gripping hijacking and the shocking aftermath that Gigineishvili truly shines. —MM
“Gigineishvili proves to be a skilled storyteller.... especially acing the hijacking scenes... The near half-hour reconstruction of how it all went down – from the group’s arrival at the Tbilisi airport to the bloody outcome of a tragic night – dominates the entire second act. Aided by superb production design that renders the terminal building and the plane itself wonderfully, authentically aged, the scenario plays out with utter believability. The action choreography also excels... Without lazy explosions or over-the-top CGI, you actually see the insane danger of the situation. The precise, never panicky editing must be credited as well for shaping, containing, heightening the delicious tension throughout.”— Zhuo-Ning Su, The Film Stage