Most reviewers have given positive comments about the film and commended it as a classic production.
The plot is cast deep in the Chechen Mountains in a war environment. While on war duty, Russian soldiers get ambushed by a group of rebels. A fight ensues between the two groups which ends in the death of all the Russian soldiers save for two; Sasha and Vanya. The two of them get taken captive by the rebels who subject them to a situation where they have to cope with cross cultural and civilization differences. Notably, Sasha is and old soldier while Vanya is merely a new recruit. Perhaps it is this difference that makes them bear differences in preferences and characteristic traits. While the former works on a plan of escaping, the latter instead develops an approach of attempting to please his captors in one way or the other.
While Sasha remains extremely cynical, Vanya gets portrayed as gawky and Naïve. In the Caucasus where they are captured, Islam is the main religion. As a result, they both have to cope with Islamic tendencies. They get chained together and have to live as one almost all through. This forces the two into developing a comradely bond and the warmth of support for one another. Specifically, the young soldier begins to develop emotions and feelings for their captor’s daughter which makes him warmer to the family as opposed to his counterpart. Apparently, the daughter of their captor also gets touched by Vanya’s kindness and warmth; a point that makes her risk the wrath of her father by extending a warm and helping hand to the former.
The reason for keeping the soldiers captive is the hope of a possible swap between the rebels and the Russian Soldiers. Apparently, the Russian soldiers also hold the son of the chief captor hostage. The major themes portrayed in the film include pessimism, disillusionment, war, despair, and extreme cases