The good stuff
Worthy but flawed
An early Tarkovksy that is surprisingly accessible. There are some dreams and flashbacks, other than that this was a pretty straightforward story about a young boy during wartime. The story and characters aren't that interesting, but the cinematography certainly helped to make the film stand out.
Set during WWII, the film follows Ivan, a young boy who works for the Russians. When he is captured in Germany by a Russian regiment, they don't believe his story, but after checking in with the people back home it becomes clear Ivan has vital information for them. Through flashbacks, we find out more about Ivan's past.
The cinematography is the clear winner here, the scenes in the swamp in particular are very beautiful (and reminiscent of similar scenes in Come and See). The film could've used a better soundtrack and a little less dialogue, the story itself isn't too special either, but at least Tarkovksy makes sure there's plenty of pretty images to look forward to.