By Adam Turner @AdamTurnerPR
The Man Who Saved the World is a Danish historical thriller directed by Peter Anthony. It recounts the story of a modest, yet heroic, Russian Lieutenant General who in 1983 saved the world from, what could have been, the most disastrous nuclear war ever. The main character, Stanislav Petrov, is a remarkable man with an extraordinary story. His sagacious decision, when in charge of a Soviet nuclear early warning centre during the Cold War, saved millions of American and Russian’s lives – and maybe the world as we know it. Sadly, he was never given the recognition he so deserved. And, had since spent much of his life sad, lonely and isolated from the rest of the world after the death of a loved one and a bitter family dispute. It wasn’t until later in life that his incredible actions were acknowledged and his astonishing story was told.
Peter Anthony’s portrayal, which is based on a true events, sadly doesn’t do Petrov’s remarkable story justice. Jumping back and forth between documentary to reconstruction, it’s hard to know what’s real and what isn’t, and the acting in the opening scene (if it is acting) looks like something you’d see in a B movie.Throughout the film it’s incredibly difficult to determine who is acting and who isn’t. And, it’s not until the final credits when it finally becomes clear that Petrov is playing himself. It’s a shame because such an astonishing and compelling story deserves a much more succinct execution. You would of thought that, after constructing the film over a period of nine years, Anthony would have produced something a little bit more polished.
However, the director failed to highlight any of the most important aspects of the tale – from the most meaningful relationships (like the one between Petrov and his mother and his young, female translator), to why he ended up in the USA. Who invited him there and how did he wind up meeting Robert De Niro, Matt Damon and Kevin Costner? The whole film is disjointed and confused, and the only thing that carries it along, or encourages you to continue watching, is the strength of the story. The reconstruction, which shows a young Petrov with his finger on the pulse of the nuclear control centre is powerful but one scene doesn’t make a good film.
Unfortunately, overall, the film simply did not live up to the narrative. Although, it did bring to the forefront a truly amazing man, whose story should be told in every school, college and university across the world – just not through the execution of this film.
The Man Who Saved The World is out now on VOD and releasing on DVD 29th June.