While personal achievement is always good, there’s something special about being part of a successful team. The camaraderie. The friendship. And while some tasks are just one-person jobs, bigger challenges often require a team of trained individuals who all bring their individual skills, experience and abilities to the party. Perhaps the most famous cinematic example of this is Seven Samurai, but there are so many. In Assault, there aren’t many actual skillsets on display.
Masked terrorists with machine guns enter a school in rural Karatas, taking a group of schoolchildren hostage and killing anyone else. They issue no demands; they only wish to strike fear into the hearts of the people. With the army two days away, a group of school workers and parents, led by a cowardly maths teacher, decide they have no option but to take matters into their own hands. However, they’re not exactly cut out for this kind of thing.
Assault is delightfully offbeat film which pits a ragtag group of cowards and misfits up against dangerous criminals. The snow-white covered landscapes are juxtaposed with pitch-black humour. Adilkhan Yerzhanov demonstrates yet again why he’s the most exciting young director working in Kazakh cinema. For all its ludicrousness and droll comedy moments, Assault is a precisely paced thriller with a killer pay-off.
Assault screens at International Film Festival Rotterdam.