Although by no means up to the standards of Herzog's documentary style and narrative form, the filmmakers' tribute to Gorbachev has rewards to offer, mostly though a pedagogical, rather than cinematic nature. Thus, the 'German-Soviet' encounter is refashioned from historical hostility to mutual sympathy, forgiveness and, ultimately, gratitude. Important lessons about social movements also emerge. A film on 'kairos'.
I expected more from Herzog's take on history, but perhaps it was his intention to make a simple and accessible biopic about an unacknowledged(?) or misunderstood figure in recent history. It is a necessary corrective to Mansky's recent "Witnesses of Putin", which claims that all evil started with Putin, Herzog made it clear that Yeltsin was the same power-grabber, which I agree with. They tried hard...
A pretty captivating and touching new documentary film from the legendary Werner Herzog. The way that Gorbachev's life is told here is very effective but a bit predictable and the film doesn't really bring anything new to the table. Overall, its a very human film and a plea for world peace in these hard times. But what's up with that greenscreen and that awkward drone shot in the first five minutes? 3.5 stars.
So obviously Werner Herzog was once this Lawrence of Arabia guy, his productions these campaigns lived to the hilt. I'm thinking is was approximately around the time he moved to California that he started very informally making movies for a living. A bummer? Maybe, sort of, but, really, more power to him. This Gorbachev piece is both mildly charming and of interest. Two men, three meetings, the myriad contexts.
Herzog is not a political filmmaker so this is not an exhaustive documentary on "glasnost" and "perestroika." His art is portraiture here and the pleasures to be found here are him interacting with someone in their later years in the act of remembering things like Chernobyl and his own ousting.
in this film werner herzog proves that he is senile and can't direct properly anymore. hence his lifting an entire 5 minute sequence from vitaly manski's documentary film on gorbachev to use it as a climax for his own film. the original material he shoots is virtually irrelevant. it does work well as an informative piece, but even so it glosses over some main elements (the true meaning of glasnost, etc) too quickly.