Michael Ward on Friday, May 18
Hockey fans will swoon over The Russian Five, a documentary about five Russian hockey stars who defected to America to join the Detroit Red Wings in the 1980s. Their arrival in the National Hockey League changed the sport forever and Joshua Riehl’s film explores the inner workings of how these highly coveted Russian athletes became NHL stars.
Featuring a whole host of recognizable hockey experts, athletes, and the talent themselves, The Russian Five feels timely, with Russian politics such an integral part of our daily political lives, in the weeks and months following the 2016 presidential election.
Revisiting the Cold War and remembering the political climate is something Riehl nails expertly well, and sets into proper context. However, for those who lack an interest in hockey, The Russian Five fails to really connect with non-hockey fans and the movie limits its audience in that regard.
I do foresee this as a film that may show up on, say, ESPN, in the months and years to come, as it would be a perfect fit for something akin to the network’s 30-for-30 documentary series.
Documentary Featuring: Sergei Federov, Jim Devellano, Igor Larionov, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Viacheslav Fetisov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Scotty Bowman
Director: Joshua Riehl
Running Time: 99 MInutes
May 19 | SIFF Cinema Uptown | 5:30 PM
May 20 | Majestic Bay | 6:00 PM
May 29 | Shoreline Community College | 9:00 PM