Directed by Marian Bushan, Sniper: The White Raven tells the story of a Ukrainian physics teacher who went from pacifist to stone-cold sniper.

Choosing to live in the forest to protect and care for the environment, Mykola (Pavlo Aldoshyn) and his wife Nastya (Maryna Koshkina) had plans to stay on their plot of land and start a family. The “White Raven” in the film’s title comes from the symbol set in the grass before reaching their home. The wife explains to a reporter how that symbol (which looks like the peace sign) came from a book. That book spoke of a raven with special powers to forgive people.

After tragedy strikes Mykola’s family, he joins a volunteer militia set on defending the Ukrainian borders. The film is based on a true story, after a handful of soldiers invaded the Donbas region in 2014.

Films with immersive beginnings have an especially difficult job. Without a backstory or an introduction, there’s an immense challenge in holding the attention of the audience as well as explaining what’s taking place. With The White Raven, there’s little guessing as to what’s going on. Even the most lay viewer without knowledge of the true event would be able to follow along.

Pavlo Aldoshyn did an excellent job reflecting Mykola’s struggle. First, evolving from a peaceful ecologist to an armed-and-ready sniper was a journey in itself. His vision, though chocked full of naïveté, was a peaceful one that he hoped to show possible through his own reflection. Then, moving from a stance of pacifism to joining a volunteer militia and becoming a top-tier sniper. Aldoshyn played both peaceful hippie and deadly sniper with grace.

Sniper: The White Raven earns an enthusiastic 8.5 out of 10. Since it’s a film involving snipers, there’s a heavy load of suspense that makes for an exciting build-up to the end. There’s a small bit of nudity but a good amount of violence so its R-rating is pretty accurate.

-Jon Jones

Photo: Courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment

Sniper: The White Raven is available now on DVD, BluRay, or stream on

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