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Movie Review: Does Russia's 'Silver Skates' Glide To Glory On Netflix?

The Silver Skates Serebryanye konki Silver Skates Kirill Zaytsev Captain Prince Arkadiy Arkady Trubetskoy Fedor Fedotov Matvey Matthew Sofya Priss Alisa Alice Maria Augusta von Schlesenberg-Vyazemskaya Yuri Borisov Alexey Tarasov Netflix
Central Partnership / Netflix

Romance, action, adventure! It is all a part of the package known as “Silver Skates” (“Serebryanye Konki”), a Russian epic currently streaming on Netflix. By conflating numerous genres, the movie calls upon one of the country’s leading sports: figure skating. Of course, in this case, that skating is more speed skating with tricks than figure skating, but you get the idea.

If you are aware of anything relating to the world of figure skating, you know that Russia is a massive force in the sport. Heading into the 2022 Winter Olympics, Russia and women’s figure skating are hand in glove. Russia’s storied past and present in the sport heightens the backdrop of “Silver Skates,” which has arrived on Netflix in the middle of summer.

The unfortunate timing of the season aside, “Silver Skates” is a lush costume drama arguably welcomed at any point in the year. (Viewers need something to help cool off, right?) Set in Saint Petersburg circa 1899, the movie takes place 18 years before the Communist-led Russian Revolution. A year later, in 1919, Bolshevik-led forces would murder the last Tsar and his family.

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All of this is important to note, considering that it plays into a lot of the social dynamics at play in this movie. “Silver Skates” is a romance with a tale as old as time for a backdrop and a whimsical spine to its story. Matvey (Fedor Fedotov) is a lamplighter alongside his honorable dad when the thrill of fast money via theft enters the equation.

A gang of skating pickpockets taps Matvey, taking him under their wing. Despite his father’s protestations, Matvey rationalizes his thievery thanks to the Communist indoctrination he receives from the gang. While taking in this info, he meets a prominent dignitary’s daughter, Alisa (Sofya Priss). Alisa is facing the usual problems of the era. She yearns to earn a degree, chafes under her father, and his choice for her husband.

As fate would have it, Matvey and Alisa are about to collide, changing the course of each other’s lives forever. “Silver Skates” glides along at a wonderful pace that makes the ensuing love story between the leads, believable if not a bit fanciful. Nevertheless, “Far and Away” still holds the crown for the best star-crossed love story of the social strata variety.

That said, director Michael Lockshin takes viewers into such a hyper-realistic realm that anything seems possible, including Matvey and Alisa’s devotion. In doing so, “Silver Skates” plunges viewers into a magical wintry wonderland. The production values are the star here, and boy do they shine. This is the kind of atmosphere that Hallmark Channel Christmas movie fans will want to soak up in the best way.

There is some exciting back-in-forth regarding the class divide. Instead of getting a straight-up Robin Hood tale, “Silver Skates” wrestles with the socio-economics that would fuel the devastating revolution that would plunge Russia into its crimson darkness. Much like “North & South,” there is deeper food for thought in this region than would otherwise be expected.

“Silver Skates” skates around some significant social issues with a lot of style and a highly suspenseful ending. Nothing is guaranteed in the happy domain, which is a mighty accomplishment for a movie with a lot of fanciful flavors. “Silver Skates” is currently streaming on Netflix alongside some other dazzling Russian content.

Rating: 7.5/10

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