Navalny Documentary Review: Sundance Winner Impresses on CNN

Spoilers

Navalny came out of nowhere during the 2022 Sundance film festival (literally, it was a surprise entry), garnering the audience choice for best documentary and the Festival favorite awards.

The documentary follows Alexei Navalny (sometimes spelled Alexey Navalny), the now-imprisoned Russian opposition leader.

After a limited release in theaters, CNN premiered the documentary on television across the country.

Navalny is a fascinating man and one that the leaders in Russia do not want anywhere near any sort of power.

He has led many political rallies against the Kremlin, and the documentary depicts these wonderfully.

But getting to see his political campaigning and ideas is not this documentary’s highlights.

The highlights come from the filmmaking, the poisoning story, and a shocking phone call.



Director Daniel Roher captured some of the tensest moments of Navalny’s life: the assassination attempt on his life.

Alexei Navalny gets colloquially called “The man Putin couldn’t kill” due to the failed poisoning attempt on his life.

The Kremlin used a Russian agent to poison Navalny, and it nearly killed him.

The failure to kill Navalny was a big hit to Putin’s plans, and Navalny and his family were incredibly relieved (and politically charged).

Navalny, his crew, and his family prepared for their war against the Kremlin.

Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, also risked her life by standing up to the doctors and mandates.

She refused to let Navalny be left alone, which may have saved him from being “finished off.”

Even though these events had already happened, we were left with bated breath!

We wanted him to live and find out how they managed to poison him after his entire crew took many precautions.

Luckily, so did Navalny and his team, and they got to work.

The kind of poison that the Kremlin used served as clues to their investigation because it was Novichok.

Novichok is a group of nerve agents that inhibit the enzymes that break down acetylcholine neurotransmitters.

This neurotransmitter builds up and causes skeletal contractions that lead to cardiac arrest.

The fact that Navalny survived is already a miracle, then to make a complete recovery? Incredible.

The film then morphs into an investigative piece, with his team following different leads on who poisoned him and how.

The film shows the resilience of someone who loves their country and will do anything to make it better.

Navalny is an incredibly brave man, and this documentary showcases his bravery.

Another very interesting aspect of this documentary came from his family’s involvement.

His wife and kids gave interesting interviews that gave their perspectives on their father and his bravery.

The film’s pinnacle comes when they find out precisely what happened with the poisoning.

He and his team manage to get ahold of an agent for the Kremlin and trick him into revealing everything.

Not just minor details, but the entire failed plan.

This never-before-seen footage impressed and amazed us because it’s something completely unfathomable.

The finale of Navalny’s story still has yet to come to pass, but he is currently imprisoned for “crimes against the Kremlin.”

As an audience, we get a brilliant front-row seat to this man’s incredible bravery, and Roher filmmaking adds to the intensity.

CNN and HBO Max have a winner with Navalny, and hopefully, audiences around the Country will react the same way.

This documentary proves to be timely and unforgettable.

Even though CNN has had its weird issues with CNN+, it’s worth tuning in because this is one of the year’s best documentaries.

So Fanatics, will you be tuning into the documentary?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Navalny airs on CNN Sunday, April 24th, 2022, at 9/8c and again at 11/10c.

Michael Stack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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