The Rifleman (2019) - full transcript

The love story of the sixteen-year-old Arturs gets interrupted by the First World War. After losing his mother and his home, he finds some consolation in joining the army, because this is ...

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BLIZZARD OF SOULS

Based on the novel
by Aleksandrs Grins

1915. World War I

The German kaiser's army has
marched into the Russian Empire

and is quickly approaching.

There is no exact front line.

There are no orders given
regarding the German advance.

Hold the handles.
- I am!

Don't be afraid.
- I am not.

Let me go.
- Pedal!

It's like riding a horse.



How do I stop?

Push the brakes.

Careful, young lady.

Thank you, officer.

Have fun,
while the Germans aren't here yet.

Officer...

You fool.

Father, meet Arturs.
My classmate.

Doctor Kaulins.

Arturs Vanags.

How old are you?

Seventeen.

In a few months.

Doctor?



Go back to sleep.

Only a big bomb could have done this.

The horse died immediately.
Its lungs burst.

Why are you laughing?

That's enough.
It's a draw.

What is that?

Found it!
- Why did you do that?

He's a big boy.
Chasing girls all night long.

Barons?

Pythagorean theorems won't
make my rye grow better.

Another school?

It's a military school. They don't
teach Pythagorean theorems there.

What war?

What do you think?

The educated are not sent
as cannon fodder.

We'll be back in the evening.

You'd better eat something, okay?

I also want to go.

You're not going anywhere.
Go wash your feet.

Take off your uniforms!

If the Germans come,

they'll cook you into a big schnitzel!

Hide under the bed.

Elbow.

Hush, Barons!

May I come in?

Milk?

Good.

Thank you!

What is happening?

Hush, Barons!

Don't shoot!

..worked here before the war.

Spies!

Don't shoot!

Silent!

Move, Russian!

Down, boy!

They were hiding in a barn!

We are not soldiers.

I don't know.

Restrain the dog!

Barons, hush! Barons, hush!

Restrain the dog!

Hush, Barons!

What are you doing? Arrest them!

Arrest them!

It's not your fault.

Come on, hurry up!

The Germans are close to Jelgava already.

Burn everything!

Don't leave the cattle for the Germans.

May I take my mother's ring?
- Yes.

Will we burn the house?
- Let them burn it, if they want.

The cattle will not make till Riga.

"Latvians, let us join
the regiments,"

"let there be blood, we'll fight
to get rid of slaves' chains."

Come join.

Read it, old man.

Guys! It's time to fight!

Let's sign up for Latvian regiments!

Application centre is
on 3 Terbatas Street.

Stop running once and for all
- I am not running.

What's your name?
- Konrads.

Sign up!

Latvian battalion committee
invites all Latvian men,

who want to join the newly
established riflemen battalions.

Guys with bicycles are
especially welcome.

I don't have a bicycle.
- A tricycle will do.

Listen, midget. Who are you?

Mikelsons. From the factory "Fenikss".

Next!

Next.

Next!
- Move!

Next!

Too young. Next!

He's got my permission.

Are you his father?
- Yes.

In two months, I'll be seventeen.

Mother's permit?

She was shot by the Germans.

Next!

Too old.

Give my documents to
the commander.

The sargent major of Kexholm Regiment.
- Exactly.

17 distinction certificates
for outstanding shooting skills.

Correct.

Served for 15 years.
Sign him up.

Why are you crying?

I am not crying.

We'll come back soon.
- I'll be waiting for you.

(Latvian anthem) God bless Latvia...

Stop it. It's forbidden.

Fuck you,
there are only Latvians here.

God bless Latvia,
our dearest Fatherland,

Oh, bless Latvia.

Oh, bless it!

Prepare the grenades!

Forward in a chain.

Yes! Victory!

Arturs! Watch out!

Arturs!

Vanags, Spilva, half an hour
in slope arms position.

Why?
- An hour.

In marching position!

Present arms! Take!
Attack! Go!

A soldier must not think.
Reload, aim and shoot. Understood?

Did your father drill
you like that at home too?

No, at home he was just dad,
not a sergeant major.

Load! Aim! Shoot! Forwards!

Faster!

What are you doing? A soldier
mustn't think. Forwards!

My wife should come on Sunday.

What about your bird?
- What?

Your filly, your lassie.
Mirdza.

She hasn't promised anything yet.
- What else can she do? She'll come.

We're building those pyramids
like mountain goats.

When will they give us real guns?

Impressive, Konrads.

A real acrobat.

But how hard is it really?

Run, Mikelsons!

Come on, you Riga moron!
Let’s see how hard you are.

Is that ours?

You can tell by the sound
that it's ours.

I think.

Run for cover! Hide!

Everyone run for cover! A plane!

Faster! Hide!

These are too small for me.

Report that you can't go to war.

Yeah, right.
They will fit without socks.

Mikelsons.

Spilva.

Vanags.

Vanags.

Soldiers!

Today you made an oath

to the tsar and Fatherland!

Be faithful to it

and don't spare your lives!

Listen to the command!

A real hero.
- Riflemen.

It's 40 km till the frontline.
In 7 hours, we'll be there.

With a song, quick march!

They will fit without socks.

What a jerk.

Can you keep it down?
- Did you come here to sleep?

The little boy has a blister?
- Shut up.

Are you totally nuts?

Miss Frau.

A rat race.

Hush! Guys, do you hear it?

Spilva! Go gas the Germans!

A doctor! Doctor!

Put on the bayonets!

I said, put on the bayonets!
Everyone to the parapet!

If we don't respond,
they will start firing even more.

Are you blind?
- As if you can see anything.

Don't shoot.

Get ready for the attack.

Stand in a single line.

Back!

We wait.

Load your weapons.

Vanags, we must go that way.

Arturs! Had you gone home?

Leave him. We can't help him.

The fog is clearing.
They will wipe us all out.

Move forwards.

Grenades!

Go!

Perhaps Mirdza?
- Show it to me too, Mikelsons.

Just bless yourself.

Some tits.

You should go to the infirmary.
- I'll stay.

Stop stealing.
- I'm not. Just airing the pockets.

And where did you get the boots?

With these boots the fighting
will be much easier.

216?

Vanags.

Spilva, killed in Sloka.

Mom!

Clean them properly!

Make them look like new!

Is that my blood?
- Germans have blue. It's yours.

And Estonians?
- Fiery.

Attention!

The unit stays in reserve tonight.
- Copy that!

Arturs Vanags is to be appointed
at the sergeant's disposal.

Rifleman Vanags!
- Here!

Happy Birthday!

Thank you.

At ease.

The boy has turned seventeen.

You should tell Mirdza
that you saw a plane.

She won't believe you, but tell her
that everyone got scared,

and you stayed
with the machine gun...

Girls like heroes.
Listen, give this to her.

What is it?
- It's a candlestick.

If you have any questions,
just ask.

My God!

Rifleman Arturs Vanags,
Courland battalion.

Come in.

Take off your coat.
Mirdza is coming soon.

We have an officer staying with us.

They brought him from hospital.

He's sleeping now.

"You are my happiness".

I am sorry.

With these hands, I killed a German.
- You're a hero.

Don't leave.

Stay.

Have you tried Tokay wine?
- I want to die.

You will, sooner or later.

To hell with her!
You must celebrate today!

Yes, yes. The Krauts are everywhere.

Let's leave.
- Come.

Go away!
- Come on, Lolya!

Lolya, sweetie, my sunshine.

Can two soldiers rest here?

Edgars.
- Arturs and a bottle of Tokay wine.

And a present from the trenches.
- I hate white wine.

We hate it too.

Arturs saw a plane.

Olya.
- Arturs.

So...

Here you go.

Do you want to get us drunk?
- Yes, I do.

So be it! Let's get drunk!
There's war, after all.

So be it! Bottoms up.

That is my sword.
- Really?

Where have you been
with your sword?

Why is your brother so serious?

Ask him. Go on.

Why don't you laugh?

I like you in uniform.

Can I try on your hat?

How should I salute an officer?

Sir, Private reports!

Sir, Private reports!

If I give you an order,
will you do it? - Yes.

Kiss me.

Should have dug
the boxes of seeds deeper at home.

Everything grows spoiled.
There will be nothing to sow.

But here we are, thousands of us,
sitting here and doing nothing.

We could plough a square verst
per day.

Wait for the orders, soldier.
We'll have a chance to fight.

To the cellar.

Put the cap on the bayonet
and lift it up.

Give it to me.

Lower, not so high.

Lift it up and down,
as if he was walking.

Not jumping. It's not a dance.

Slower. Dumb as a rock.

Stop teaching me.

How can I, stupid.

Acting like a professor.

A sniper. Any volunteers?

Very well.

A sniper.

Post to the right.

Two go forwards. Lay low.

For being so weak,
you deserve a tribunal.

My boy.

What are you doing?

He's got a bullet in his neck,
but you give him milk.

Mirdza!

Don't talk.

A bullet was removed from your neck,
do you understand?

It had gone through the shoulder
two millimetres from the artery.

You were lucky.

Hush.

Dear boy.

Still a boy.

War is not for boys.

Should have stayed home

with your mom, studying.

Dear son.

I heard that you had fallen
in the battle.

But I know, that you are alive.

There is no news.
The front is quiet.

Konrads strangled another one,

and I managed to
shoot two more bastards.

That makes thirty altogether.

It is cold as hell here,
my bones are aching,

but when I think about you
and Edgars, and home,

I forget about the affiction.

Mother talked about you in my dream.

Edgars had already come home,
but freezing.

You are strictly forbidden to smoke.

I'm sorry.
- You should't talk either.

Visiting hours are over in an hour.

Get plump and healthy as a horse.

Greetings from Olya.

How are they?
- Drinking.

How is father doing?

Crawling closer to the Germans.

Shooting every day.

He got a message
that you were killed in battle.

But I'm alive.

That's a good sign.

What do you think about this, officer?

While kaiser is having children
for breakfast,

behind the front, German spies have
recruited murderers of Bolsheviks,

promising land and money
that does not belong to them.

The tsar is ready to die for you.

Let's not give in to propaganda.

It's all fucking rubbish.

While the tsar is
in the Winter palace,

we are sitting here like jerks
doing nothing.

Rifleman, attention!

At ease.

Attention.

Be quiet, rifleman.

Get well. Don't hurry.

At ease.

Check, if these are the right ones.

It's mine.

I guess you'll be going

to the Island of Death.

Play one.

Marta, let's hit.

It's Easter.

I'm sorry for smoking.

Once healed,
you'll be able to smoke again.

My name is Arturs.
- I know.

Why are you here at the hospital?

My father and brother are in the front.

And I cannot look after
our farmstead alone.

My father and I decided,
it is best for me to come here.

What about your mother?
- My mother died.

I'm sorry.

Shall we dance?

My name is Marta.

The Kraut soldier
was put there for punishment.

The Germans have no guts.

They want us to waste bullets
on their jerks.

It's a piece of cake.
- Stop.

Why do you pity him?
Perhaps, he shot Spilva.

Perhaps, he put a bullet
in the heart of Arturs' mother.

We're not executioners.
He'll get shot tomorrow in the battle.

German asses! Bang bang!
Come here!

(Speaking German)

(Speaking German)

(Speaking German)

Yes, yes! Shit!

I am not shit! You are shit!

(Speaking German)

Yes, yes! I don't understand!
I am Latvian!

You are a farmer!
- You are an ass!

(Speaking German)

Stop shouting.

Father.

Kill him.

Shoot!

It's wrong.
- Shoot.

Bravo, Latvians!

If your mother was here...

I hope she can forgive me
for taking you to the war.

How many?
- What?

How many?

It should be 60 by the end of summer.

Gas attack!
Put wet cloths on your face!

Faster! Come on!

Help the 6th battalion!

Friendly troops!

Edgars!

Arturs!

Where is father?

What?
- Where is father?

They are real devils.

Sons of bitches.
They keep on censoring letters.

It's so you don't spoil your
eyesight, reading so many letters.

But I can't see shit of what
my sweetheart writes.

Dick heads.

Attention!

Vanags didn't come for replacement.

Do you know where he is?

Here.

Who put the gun in the grave?
- Commander...

Suspend!
- I did.

Losing a gun means tribunal!

Commander, sergeant major Vanags
killed 56 Germans with this gun.

He deserves to be buried with it.

You did right.

Fire.

Latvian riflemen.

You will succeed

in attacking Germans.

You are lucky to fight together

with the best Siberian units

of the 12th regiment.

With your bayonets we will liberate Jelgava.

Mothers and fathers are waiting for you.

You will embrace them after the victory.

God be with us.

Volunteers step forward!

You'll report the route to the others.

The tsar promised that we'll get home.

Godspeed, boys!

At ease!

You'll get fed. This is
for special occasions.

Could I have some bacon, please?

Perhaps, you want boar's balls?

Hey, this is for three days.

What's in my stomach is mine.

If I get shot, at least
Germans won't get it.

Are you stupid? What are
you doing? Volunteers?

I’ll take you off the front line
to join the signallers.

Maybe also give me a candlestick?

Alright. I'll go with you.
- Come.

Fire!

Petersons.

Petersons!

Go, go, go.

Give me your hand.

Go, go, go!
Get up! Forwards!

Forwards!

We're the same troops.

- Regiment 4?
- No 3. Come along.

Get up! Get up!
You're Latvians!

Get up!

Get up!

Forwards!

Get up!

You wanted to shoot me?

Arturs, grenade!

Kill me.

How is it?

Good.

It should be done.
It’s been cooking for three hours!

Add some wood.

Then it will boil faster.

Number three?
- Yes.

Distribute it to your folks.

It’s lice powder.
- It's salt!

It's salt!
- Lice powder!

It's salt!

Why are you laughing?
Let’s take it off.

What is happening here?

Permission to report, captain,
the Estonian can't cook a goose.

What? - Yes, Your Highness.
on behalf of our company,

we invite you to share
this goose with us.

Well, if you treat me.
- Right.

Here you go.

Slowly, slowly. Who said,
the Estonian can't cook?

A parcel. - For whom?
- For Petersons.

Check if there is food.

It's from his mom.
- Read it.

My dearest boy! I received the money
and even your previous letter

that seemed to have been lost.
Now, I have some wool.

I will knit mittens
for your friends too.

When my heart gets sad and full of fear,
especially in the dark evenings,

I light a lamp by the bedside

and look at my dearest boy's face.

And then I feel at ease and
remember the good times,

when we were all together and happy.

Smoke got in my eyes.

Every evening, I pray for my
boy to return safe and sound.

Kisses to my little boy.
Your mommy.

Gather your things!

We are returning
to the previous positions.

Why? The Siberians should be
in Jelgava already.

It's an order to me
and so it is to you.

The orders are not to be discussed.

Where are the reinforcements?

Where are the Siberians?

Movement is impossible.

I repeat, movement is impossible.

We are under attack.

Understood!

At night, we pull back.
The Siberians refused to attack.

But we are so close.
- It'll be fine. We'll get home.

Lower! Lower!

Brother. Brother!

Wait.

Wait!

Fire!

Brother!

Everyone retreat!

Jekabs?
- Killed.

Alberts?

Have you seen Pukis?
- No.

Has anyone seen Rudzitis?

Out of my way.

Why didn't you come help us?

Read it yourself.

The war will bring the end
to the tsar and kaiser.

Point your weapons

towards ministers and generals.

Lenin has promised to liberate Russia,

let us liberate Russia and return home.

Land - to the peasants!
Put an end to the war!

And do you believe them?

What else can we do? I will not
fight for this damn tsar anymore.

Do you think that Lenin will really
grant us freedom?

We'll see.

Marta?

My father. He didn't come back.
- What is his name?

Peteris Feldzers.

Brother? - He was killed on the
Island of Death.

If I find out something,
I will write to you.

Does it hurt?

What?

A bit.

Marta, the revolution is over.

The tsar and kaiser have been punished.

For two months,
we were guarding Lenin.

Then, we were sent to the South.

I was wounded in the leg
not far from Rostov.

Mikelsons and Konrads
carried me to hospital for 20 km.

At first, the doctor wanted to cut
the leg off, but then decided not to.

I don't want to return
home as a disabled person.

My comrades are being sent
back to Latvia.

When I get better, I will join them.

We are stronger and more
united than ever.

We'll beat the Germans.
And go home.

I would like to show it to you.
It's very beautiful.

Arturs.

Get back here!

Better tell me what you saw.

They wear red stars.
But they run as soon as the Germans come.

They will have marched into Latvia.

They need to build
communism in Moscow.

Who is going to protect us?

We should have fought
for own government.

Stop talking rubbish

Every night,
people are killed in Riga.

Some are killed in the brewery.
That's the main place.

Some are killed by the Central
prison near the water towers.

Others are killed
next to the forests.

They arrest them at noon
and by the evening, they are dead

Who is to blame for that?
For that Antichrist servants' rage?

Those bastard riflemen.

Let's get off.
- I'm going further.

Son of a bitch.

Is he crazy?

It's good that you came. We wouldn't
have managed without you.

No.

I'll go now.

Comrade commander, allow
me report. - Go on.

Transportation has run smoothly.

The arrested people have been
taken to wagons.

At ease.

Solder Vanags!
- Here.

How's your leg?
- A bit shorter. But ready for the revolution.

Third unit!
To the headquarters.

Go on.

Halt! Turn right!

Get in line!

Line up!

Attention!

Isn't that Mikelsons?

For counter-revolutionary activities, desertion,

assisting in desertion

and assisting in an escape attempt,

for betrayal,

the punishment is death by shooting.

Execute the order.

What are you doing here?

Guess. You can die in Russia.

I'll die here.

Shoot me!

March on, Latvians,
let's join regiments.

Let there be blood, we'll fight.

Let the slaves' chains break.

Aim!

Shoot!

Shoot or you'll be shot.

Understood?

Aim!

Shoot.

Arrest the traitor.

Mikelsons! Bitches!

No, I'll kill you.
Mikelsons, no!

Konrads, help! Mikelsons, no!

Mikelsons!

Whores! I will kill you all!

Don't stare!

Lend me that bucket, friend.
- Why do you need it?

You'll see.

Your station.

Yes, yes. Certainly.

What are you staring at?
You've got 10 minutes.

Commander?

Are you sorry for Mikelsons?
He'd be shot anyway.

And you'd all be shot,
if I hadn't done it.

And I'd have been shot.

You will be shot.

Goodbye.

Let's go to Marta.

She works as a farm hand.

She'll suggest a hiding place.

No, when the reds are gone, I’ll go
back, before the Germans get there.

Who is expecting you there?

Latvians are finally forming
National forces in Cesis.

While I'm not at home,
the war is not over.

Devils!

To the forest!

Stop, we will shoot!

Betrayer!

Turn around!

Son of a bitch.

Where are they?

Konrads, let's go.

Get him.
- Get out!

Get him.

I'll shoot!

Get out!
Don't make me get off my horse!

From the other side.

Did you see a solder here?
- No. - Don't lie! - No.

Let's go.

Comrade,
if you see anyone, report it.

Of course, comrades.

Why do you hide
from your own people?

They are not mine.

Germans.

Tie up the dog.

How old are you?

20.

Why aren't you in the army?

I'm wounded in the neck and leg.

Sorry.

Read.

Latvian patriots, support...

...the German army in its victory.

All men at least 18 years old
must join the German army.

It's time to free Latvia.

Long live autonomous Latvia
blessed by the kaiser.

Are you sure?

I’ll pass on the message.

There will be many deserters,

who'll want to fight with you.

Why?

Reds killed my family.

Finally, I'll have my revenge on them.

I want to fight with you.

Good boy.

Hans!

I have to go.

Promise to take me home.

Wrong finger.

We must defend Cesis.

And liberate Riga!

We fought
under the reds', the tsar's

and even the German flag.

And we have always been cheated.

Time to fight under our
own red, white and red flag.

We won't be servants any more.

Time to defend our land,
our home. Our family.

The guns will be useful.

Whose gun was it?

The rifleman Konrads'.

May I?

Gatis!

Next.

Great army you have there.
Kids, deserters and refugees.

Listen. An Estonian armoured train
is on its way.

Defend the railway bridge
until their forces arrive.

Listen to my command!

Down.

Don't sit there! Get up!

Aim!

Shoot!

Down. Reload. Clear?

Once again. Aim! Shoot!
Down! Reload!

Once again. Aim! Shoot!
Down! Reload!

Aim! Shoot! Reload!

Aim! Shoot! Reload!

Aim! Shoot! Reload!

Aim! Shoot! Reload!

Aim! Shoot! Reload!

Aim! Shoot!

To our brothers and fathers,

who have died defending our
Fatherland.

To our brothers and fathers,

who have died defending our
Fatherland.

To our brothers and fathers,

who have died defending our
Fatherland.

To our brothers and fathers,

who have died defending our
Fatherland.

To our brothers and fathers,

who have died defending our
Fatherland.

Aleksandrs Petersons age 16
is awarded for defending Latvia.

The enemy has been
defeated for good!

After his death, his medal is received
by his mother Ieva Petersone.

Arturs Vanags.

Hero of the battle of Cesis where the
enemy has been defeated for good.

Retired sergeant
after five years of service.

At the age of 21,
after surviving four wounds,

helped Latvia to stand
for its independence

at the Christmas battle,
the Island of Death and the city of Cesis.

Fame and glory!

Fame and glory!

Let's go home!

During the WWI,
the Latvian population was halved

by more than 1.2 million people.

However, after the battle of Cesis,
thousands of volunteers applied.

They liberated Riga and defended it
against Bermont's army.

Giving the chance to establish
their own country.