By Dirk Sonniksen | January 7, 2014
Director: Garrett Batty
Writer: Garrett Batty
Starring: Bart Johnson, Maclain Nelson, Corbin Allred, Alex Veadov, Nikita Bogolyubov
Andrew Propst (Maclain Nelson) and Travis Tuttle (Corbin Allred) are Mormon missionaries spreading their message in Russia. Things are going well until the two are kidnapped and held for ransom, but unfortunately the payoff is not forthcoming and as a result, Sergei (Alex Veadov), the mastermind behind the abduction, becomes irritated. With this news, Andrew and Travis begin questioning their faith and their fate. Nikolai (Nikita Bogolyubov), kidnapper number two, strikes up a friendship with the two captives and what transpires is a dialogue that will ultimately lead Andrew and Travis to make choices based largely on their religious beliefs.
The Saratov Approach is an interesting look at the choices made when two men hold tight to their religious convictions. To be frank, their decisions are what many individuals would choose not to do in such a dire situation with the two men relying solely on a power beyond their comprehension to guide them through a potentially deadly affair. In a sense, it is a perfect example of the old adage: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. But in the case of Propst and Tuttle their aim goes beyond trying to outwit their abductors and instead they become psychologists of sorts who attempt to understand what drives their kidnappers to resort to such desperate measures for financial gain.
Based on a true story, the drama of Propst and Tuttle is one that will certainly appeal to those possessing solid religious faith. While the story of these two men seems to be the exception rather than rule, it should give many hope that perhaps there is an alternative to violent action and that befriending even those that would do us harm could lead to a better world. That’s not to say that we heathens don’t possess compassion (we do), and perhaps that’s why The Saratov Approach transcends religion. We all have a mammoth surplus of compassion within us, it’s simply a matter of letting that kindness flow freely, and maybe, just maybe, attempting to understand individuals regardless of their shortcomings is an approach that could yield positive results.
Rating: 6.5 of 10