Cast: Stanislav Petrov, Alexa Khaimenova, Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro.
Running Time: 110 minutes
Synopsis: The true story of Stanislav Petrov, the man who had to make the impossible decision as to whether to launch the USSR’s nuclear arsenal after a computer malfunction suggested they were under attack.
When was the last time you watched a film that was truly important? And not just in a “Everyone should see this,” kind of way, but a film that made you see the world completely differently. A film that you believe really should be watched by everyone alive. THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WORLD may very well be one of cinema’s greatest achievements, working as both a cautionary tale, intense thriller, and joyous celebration of true humanity.
Like something out of DR STRANGELOVE, 1983 saw a Russian missile detection satellite malfunction and report that 5 nuclear missiles were on their way from the US. It was the job of Stanislav Petrov to make the final call to his superiors as to whether this was a genuine attack or not. Despite mounting pressure he made the final and crucial decision to which we all owe our lives. THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WORLD followed Stanislav as he makes a voyage to the US in search of, of all things, Kevin Costner.
Seeing the man, now elderly and living a very quiet life, seemingly forgotten by time is a very sad image indeed. He drinks hard and has a love for Kevin Costner films. Right from the get go we see a man who is very humble and very human. He has made no apparent attempt to seriously cash in on his good deed, nor present himself as a celebrity. He’s a man of great bluntness, which adds a lot of humour especially when he meets Hollywood stars Robert De Niro and Matt Damon.
Anthony’s film is a brilliant mixture of documentary, recreation, and subtly manipulated moments. The night in question is recreated dramatically, and feels painfully tense at all times even though we know the eventual outcome. It’s shot with all the expertise of a Hollywood thriller, while the performances are flawless. Meanwhile the real Stanislav is sent on a road trip across America, as he goes to talks to recount the night, as well as meet some of his favourite Hollywood celebrities. He’s also paired with a young translator, who begrudgingly works with the old curmudgeon before understanding him and his situation, It’s a lovely little relationship that adds heart to this densely powerful movie.
THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WORLD needs to be seen by all as a reminder as to how dangerous we have become as a species, but how compassionate and rational we can be as individuals. If I could force people to see one movie this year, this would be it. The Man Who Saved The World is not just an extraordinary story, but an extraordinary film. Beautifully told on both an international and personal level, this is one of the most tense, most important, and most emotional films ever made. Come the end of the year, this is the film to beat. Tell your family, tell your friends, screen it in schools, Stanislav Petrov is a man we should all know, respect, and owe our lives to.
THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WORLD is in cinemas from 15th May.