A movie about the effects of war, rather than war itself. An eightysomething woman (Galina Vishnevskaya) journeys from St Petersburg to see her officer grandson at a Russian army base in the Chechen Republic.
Wandering about the place, she sees the monstrousness of combat – young soldiers, destructive hardware – which the occupiers take for granted. However striking the images, Alexander Sokurov's camera seems almost to sleepwalk through the scenery. His sepia images of war's futility are beautiful, and Vishnevskaya's face is a compelling one, but they cannot compensate for the soporific anti-narrative.