Situated in the middle of a city block sat an empty lot, where a six story apartment building used to stand. A developer bought the land and knocked the building down so he could construct a bigger building, but when the economy soured he went bankrupt. All that remained on the lot was gravel and pieces of broken cement that looked like they were once part of a cliff that had been weathered away by the wind. A chain-link fence surrounding the property was now dull with rust that had stained the ground like ruined brown mascara off of a crying face. There was nothing to see in the rubble at first glance; however, if you closely peered at one of the larger cement boulders towards the left side, a single small flower had broken through a crack, releasing a bloom shaded in midnight blue with white star like flecks. It was extraordinary to look at and amazing it could live among the ruins. Finding beauty in a hostile environment was the hook in this dramatic World War II movie about an epic battle in history. A small group of Russian soldiers were holed up in a strategic apartment building, trying to defend it from Nazi troops led by Captain Kan, played by Thomas Kretschmann (Wanted, King Kong). As the two sides fought for control of the building Katya and Masha, played by Mariya Smolnikova (The Daughter) and Yanina Studilina (Yasnovidyashchaya), found their lives going down different paths among the horrors around them. The opening scenes in this action film were unbelievable and frightening at the same time. The production values were quite good in both outdoor and indoor scenes. I do not know how accurate the story was compared to the actual battle; but the writers had ample help to create a historic, dramatic story. Unfortunately it was a big letdown for me because the acting and the script collapsed in the scenes. There were some scenes that really were tough to watch but I sat in my seat without much reaction. From such a boffo opening this movie seemed to slide down into disrepair. I am afraid the beauty I thought I saw in this film turned out to be a mirage. The languages spoken were Russian and German with English subtitles. There were scenes that had blood and violence in them.