Impressive film dealing with one of the lesser known battlegrounds in WW2.
The Baltic countries, like other Eastern European nations, were caught between the colossal war machines of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. These two nations divided the map in secret through the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and moved to annex their territorial claims at the onset of the war.
At that time, a sizeable part of Estonia's population had strong German ties dating back to the Hanseatic era. Upon the outbreak of the Russian invasion, many of these civilians fled to Germany or neutral Sweden. The able men who stayed were conscripted into the Red Army. When the Nazis broke the truce in 1941 and advanced towards the East, those in Soviet service in turn fled before the Germans, whilst the German Estonians who had left the country in 1940 returned to serve their new (and in their eyes, rightful) occupiers.
The film takes place in 1944, as the Russians return to reclaim the Baltic states on their way to Berlin. Men on both sides of the conflict, once brothers, friends, neighbours, now are forced to fight one another on behalf of foreign forces. There is little glory to this story. Subliminally (and sublimely) it takes a stance against the madness and tragedy of war. Most actions taken by the characters are out of necessity. Nobody is a true protagonist or antagonist. In one scene, the bewilderment and confusion of the civilian population is displayed as well.
Connecting to the characters is not difficult; the actors do a solid job. Nothing too bombastic. The pace of the film adapts well to the amount of information which is shown and processed in any given scene. The settings, costumes, camera work, and music all mesh together nicely.
If you wish to view history from a different perspective than Hollywood's, this film is definitely worth your time.