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The uninspiring direction is felt the most in the basketball scenes, which lack tension and visual prowess, while the performances can only be described as bland.

Kalev, the true story of an Estonian basketball team that takes on the best Soviet team of the era during a period when the country wants to secede from the USSR, is Estonia's official entry in the next Oscar race. While there will always be fans of inspirational sports tales, it's highly doubtful that Kalev will make it onto the shortlist for Best International Film though.

Firstly, it's hard to get swept up in this David vs. Goliath film because the screenplay never makes it abundantly clear why exactly we should be cheering for the basketball players and their grumpy coach, which is a problem when you're not completely up to date with early-nineties Soviet politics.

Secondly, none of the subplots pay off, especially one that involves a player that never gets off the bench. And then there are the uninspiring direction - which is felt the most in basketball scenes that lack tension and visual prowess and performances that can only be described as bland.

So while Kalev might have started from an interesting idea, the execution is unfortunately lacking.

release: 2022

director: Ove Musting

starring: Mait Malmsten, Reimo Sagor, Priit Võigemast, Mihkel Kuusk


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