‘Klondike’ | Sundance 2022 Review

Directed By:

Maryna Er Gorbach

Written By:

Maryna Er Gorbach


Oxana Cherkashyna, Sergey Shadrin, Oleg Scherbina, Oleg Shevchuk, Artur Aramyan, Evgenij Efremov



Irka and Tolik live in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, disputed territory in the early days of the Donbas war. The Donbas war was in 2014, and is eerily similar to the times we’re in currently. Becoming parents is difficult, but try preparing for the new family member when a plane crashes into their village, partially destroying their home.

Not just a plane, but Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, where 298 passengers and crew were lost. As the two begin to consider whether to join the separatist movement or to stay, Irka’s brother arrives to help in repairing the damage of their house. The tension begins to rise as the brother considers Tolik a traitor to Ukraine, and wanting to flee. These relationships are all being tested within an impossible situation, and ‘Klondike’ is a special look into the tensions in eastern Europe that I’ve never understood until now.

Both Oxana Cherkashyna and Sergey Shadrin play heartbreaking characters. Both showing different perspectives on how to react to being in a war. Oxana is really terrific in her role and is the strongest performance in it. The landscape is bleak, desaturated, and plumes of smoke can be seen from Irka and Toliks house of the plane crash. From there, the film begins to stop exploring the themes that I’d hope there was more to. The story isn’t really interested in delving into anything, but more showcasing the day to day life of these people after a catastrophe. It works for the first act, and doesn’t come back until the third.

But overall the film is important to watch. Mainly for me because I wanted to know more about Ukraine and Russia. But the leads performances are strong, and the emotional depth of ‘Klondike’ is very rewarding in the end.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
Patrick Beatty
Patrick Beatty

Patrick Beatty is a film critic and creator of PatrickBeattyReviews.com and the Gaggle of Geeks Podcast network. Watch him Friday’s on ABC4 Good Things Utah talk about movies and follow all his work in the link below.

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