The Easy Way Or The Hard Way: Our Review of ‘Servants’

Posted in Movies by - February 24, 2022
The Easy Way Or The Hard Way: Our Review of ‘Servants’

At some point in our lives we all face a crossroads. Usually one road is easy than the other, and the question we must ask ourselves is how important is it to travel the harder road? The crossroads each individual faces can vary significantly however, and the consequences are never the same.  Director Ivan Ostrochovsky’s second feature film Servants shows us two individuals faced with making a difficult decision. It also shows the consequences connected to the roads they decide to walk.

Juraj (Samuel Skyva) and Michal (Samuel Polakovic) are two new students at a seminary in 1980’s Czechoslovakia. On the surface it appears as if they are getting a proper education to be future leaders of the church. But they quickly find themselves caught having to choose between their faith or their country. One believes that the politics of their country shouldn’t have any bearing on their religion. Meanwhile, the other feels it’s their duty to comply with the wishes of their country. Their choices lead them down completely different paths, which takes a toll on them both.

Servants is a unique film in a few different ways. One, Ostrochovsky shot the film in black and white which gives it a film noir feel, which is perfect for what is essentially a political thriller. It’s also symbolic in that there are clearly two sides in the film, one right and one wrong, with no shades of grey. Two, there is hardly any talking. You watch the events of the film play out, a lot of the time in silence, allowing you to see the two sides clearly without bias. Three, the soundtrack is haunting. It delivers a real sense of consequence for ones actions, while chilling you to the bone.   And four, the lead actors Skyva and Polakovic are first-timers, yet it doesn’t show. Their greenness adds to their performances since their characters are new to the seminary. And they’re learning where they want their lives to be.

Servants isn’t an amazing film by any stretch of the imagination, but it is relevant at the moment and it is an interesting topic. For further enjoyment you may want to read up on Czechoslovakia’s state-sponsored Association of Catholic Clergy Pacem in Terris. This was a program in 1980 that was meant to make sure priests fell into line with the politics of the country. It’s an interesting subject that you might not know a lot about.

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While Roderick has only been writing movie reviews for a relatively short time, he's been a fan of film for as long as he can remember. It's a love affair that started when he saw Star Wars at a drive-in theatre in Kitchener when he was four years old. In the past decade he's fulfilled his dream of interviewing celebrities, attending red carpets events at festivals such as TIFF and writing reviews for outlets such as He's always on the hunt for the next big thing to hit the screen.
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