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Wick's Review

Created Jul 16, 2020 06:56AM PST • Edited Jul 30, 2020 11:23PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    The three men who led the Russian Revolution – Trotsky, Lenin and Stalin – come alive in Trotsky, a 2017 Russian miniseries. Caveat emptor, Trotsky is a Putin-era Russian production that takes some dramatic and therefore historical license, plus features at least one R-rated sex scene per episode.

    Some 21st century communists are more than a little displeased with Trotsky, SHOCKED that lies have been told about communism’s first martial celebrity. Speaking of Marxist icons, Trotsky was the Left’s poster child before Mao became that, who was then succeeded by Che. AOC is now vying for the position.

    Caveats about less-than-scrupulous reporting aside, this terrific miniseries provides important historical insight in entertaining fashion and with rich production values

    Episode 6 is one of the greatest hours of TV drama ever: Trotsky at his peak power, a stone-cold power player playing empire games between Russia and Germany, between monarchy and communism, between morality and amorality, all with a bitchin’ armored train and full-leather commander uniform. The hot sex scenes between Trotsky and a subordinate’s wife prove that some comrades were more equal than others.

    Why does all this matter today?

    The communist takeover of Russia was the 20th century’s seminal event. Hence, understanding the Russian Revolution is essential to understanding the 20th century, and the lingering effects of the former Soviet Empire on our own 21st century, including what’s happening in America during this summer of 2020.

    To that end, Mark Twain’s maxim that history doesn’t repeat itself but often rhymes comes to mind, given how the 2020 neo-Marxist Black Lives Matter movement echoes Trotskyism’s social revolution.

  3. Great 4.0

    The Russian, Ukrainian and Georgian cast are uniformly great.

    One standout is Viktoriya Poltorak as Frida Kalo. Though a Russian actress, Poltorak jumps offscreen as the legendarily wild Mexican artist.

  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Great 4.0

    This great miniseries on Netflix lays bare how Marxism works in practice, including its preference for power over truth. It also dramatizes original Soviet Politburo meetings, complete with Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin. These make clear that communism is effectively dictatorship by committee.

    Lastly, as always in the old world, anti-Semitism is ever present.

  9. Direction Great 4.0
  10. Play Great 4.0
  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    The visuals are historically overwhelming, including lifelike shots of the Kremlin circa 1918 – outside the fortress and inside its gilded rooms. Equally stunning is a scene inside Kaiser Wilhelm’s even more gilded Berlin Palace.

  13. Content
  14. Sordid 3.0

    Trotsky was responsible for thousands of murders, Lenin for hundreds of thousands and Stalin for millions. Beware.

  15. Sex Erotic 2.9
  16. Violence Brutal 3.5
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.6
  18. Glib 1.3

    Sexed up for TV, the Trotsky miniseries has been roundly criticized for playing fast and loose with the facts, hence the rating of 2x natural circoreality. Amongst its other supposed transgressions is a whole bunch of anti-Semitism. As a Semite, albeit one not intimately familiar with the details of the story, the anti-Semitism and its internalization by Trotsky – aka Laiba Bronstein – seemed realistic for the times. Let’s not fall into the Leftist trap of judging the past by the present. Anti-Semitism has a long and sordid history in Russia, in Eastern Europe, and most of all, in 20th century Germany.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 2.0
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0

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