Servants

    Servants
    2020

    Synopsis

    Michal and Juraj, two students of a theological seminary in totalitarian Czechoslovakia, must decide if they'll choose the easier way of collaboration, or if they'll subject themselves to the surveillance of the secret police.

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    Cast

    • Samuel SkyvaJuraj
    • Samuel PolakovičMichal
    • Vlad IvanovDr. Ivan
    • Vladimír StrniskoDean
    • Milan MikulčíkClergyman
    • Tomáš TurekLeader
    • Vladimír ZboroňSecretary
    • Martin ŠulíkPhysician
    • Vladimír ObšilFather Coufar
    • Peter ZálesnákSecret Policeman 2

    Recommendations

    • 90

      Screen Daily

      This is an unsettling rebuke of government control and ideological manipulation — as well as a sharp cry against compliance with the prevailing status quo.
    • 80

      The New York Times

      Ostrochovsky often begins shots with characters frozen in place for several seconds before they launch into action, as if they were chess pieces moved by God across the bare lines of the seminary’s crumbling stone architecture.
    • 80

      The Guardian

      Pure evil permeates this brief, 80-minute film, whose cold visual brilliance reminds me of the recent movies of Paweł Pawlikowski. It wasn’t until some time after it had finished that I grasped one of the reasons it was so oppressive: there are no women in it at all. There is a chill of political fear.
    • 80

      The Observer (UK)

      Ostrochovský’s camera emphasises the constricting architecture of both church and state, with its black and white morality and a claustrophobic central courtyard, frequently portrayed via stiff, judgmental God’s-eye shots.
    • 80

      The Irish Times

      Servants confirms the director as a major talent.
    • 80

      Variety

      Servants is briskly shaped at just under 80 minutes, yet its alien-historical world-building is effective enough that you emerge from it feeling both out of time and out of breath: Any longer, and all humanity would bleed out of this earthly-but-ethereal conspiracy drama entirely.
    • 75

      Movie Nation

      Ostrochovský never quite achieves “riveting” with this narrative. But he’s made a chilling reminder of the Bad Old Days, when the Cold War might have given the world moral clarity about who was for freedom and civil liberties and who sought to quash them.
    • 70

      The Hollywood Reporter

      If nothing else, the period picture represents an impressive change of pace from Ostrochovsky’s hard-knock feature directorial debut.

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