Archangel

Released:  1990

Cast:  Kyle McCulloch, Kathy Marykuca, Sarah Neville, Ari Cohen, Michael Gottli, Victor Cowie, David Falkenburg, Michael O’Sullivan, Margaret Anne MacLeod

SUMMARY:  In 1919, the Great War (World War I) has ended everywhere except the Russian town of Archangel.  There, the Czar’s army continues to fight the “Huns”, along with the Bolsheviks.  Lt. John Boles (Kyle McCulloch) is a Canadian soldier fighting in the conflict (yes, Canada did intervene in the Bolshevik Revolution) who is sent to billet with a family in Archangel.  Boles has already been through a lot of fighting:  he has lost his right leg, as well as the woman he loved, Iris.  The family he will be staying with consists of a grandmother, Baba (Margaret Anne MacLeod); a brave mother, Danchuk (Sarah Neville); a cowardly father, Jannings (Michael Gottli); a young son, Geza (David Falkenburg), and an unnamed baby.  Boles quickly wins the approval of the family when he helps treat Geza’s seizure.  However, a woman named Veronkha (Kathy Marykuca) enters the house then, and her incredible resemblance to Iris causes Boles to pass out.  When he comes to, Boles is apparently suffering from amnesia:  he thinks that Veronkha actually is Iris, forgetting that the real woman died.  Unbeknownst to him, Veronkha is married (though she disputes this fact) to a man named Philbin (Ari Cohen).  Philbin also has amnesia, and is permanently stuck in the time period immediately following his wedding to Veronkha.  That night, Boles tries to win Veronkha over at a town event, but this is disrupted by the breakout of fighting.  Boles, along with both Veronkha and Danchuk, participate, but when the fighting lulls Boles tries to follow Veronkha home.  Instead she goes to a hypnotist, who helps her remember what happened after her wedding to Philbin.  As Boles listens in, Veronkha describes how she and Philbin flew to Murmansk for their honeymoon, but shortly after arriving Philbin forgot getting married, and slept with another woman (which Veronkha saw, prompting her to get an annulment).  Boles also hears them mention a rumored baby, which causes him to “remember” his own baby at home (really Danchuk’s child).

After checking in on “his” baby, Boles decides to find Veronkha again.  His only knowledge of her home comes from an odd treasure map/marriage certificate that she has given him.  On his initial attempt, Boles cannot find the house.  Fighting erupts again, and Boles (and both women) find themselves in the trenches, fighting off a Bolshevik attack.  While this is happening, other Bolsheviks break into the family house and attack Jannings, Geza and the baby.  Jannings is stabbed in the stomach, which causes his intestines to fall out.  However, the sight of his children being threatened finally invigorates Jannings, and he uses these intestines to strangle the Bolsheviks and save his children before dying.  Philbin abruptly arrives at the house, and Geza assumes it was he who killed the Bolsheviks.  After the battle, Veronkha decides to re-marry Philbin, and they repeat their honeymoon trip to Murmansk.  Boles follows them, and manages to sneak into the room to hear Veronkha declare that she really loves him, not Philbin (Veronkha believes she is taking revenge on Philbin with this declaration).  When Veronkha sees that she was really talking to Boles, she faints, then develops amnesia herself.  Boles continues to believe that Veronkha is Iris, and now Veronkha also starts to believe this.  They decide to get married, but Veronkha sees Philbin and remembers who she really is.  She sends Boles away; he returns to ask Danchuk to care for “his” baby before returning to the fighting.  Geza also joins the battle, and is killed.  His ghost joins his father’s, who explains what really happened in the house.  Boles is injured by a grenade, and tries to again find Veronkha using the treasure map.  He does find her — marrying Philbin again.  He then leaves Russia and goes back to Canada.

MY TAKE:  What in the hell is this?  I swear, I could take my phone and record some indecipherable, non-related crap, and it would end up on this list.  It starts out as an interesting story, but as soon as two people have amnesia things get really strange.  Then three people have it, and they are all intertwined.  I think there were more people with amnesia in the one house than there were in the whole rest of the war.  Then there’s this bizarre treasure map, which is somehow also a marriage certificate, and a wedding/honeymoon that happens like three times, with varying results.  I went from intrigued to confused to just plain pissed.  Sorry, but how is my life going to be improved by seeing this before I die?  Find me a movie with some actual entertainment value.  Additional point of contention:  who in the world sleeps in the buff in Russia, circa winter 1919?

RATING:  Horrible.

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