Take any of the Andrey Tarkovsky's movies, take away all the art-houseness from it and you'll get "Zerkalo dlya geroya". Quite interesting that I watched this movie when was a child and didn't like it because I didn't ...展开understand a thing, watched it when I was a teenager and quite liked it but didn't understand it anyway and finally I've watched it now and found that it's a great movie with a good and deep idea.
The plot (no big spoilers): Young Sergey (Sergey Koltakov) and his old father are two quite different men: Sergey cannot understand why his father is so concerned about the other people's fates, about fates of towns and villages and the fate of the whole country. He finds him an old fool, but Sergey's own fate soon forces him to understand his father. On a show of the rock band "Nautilus Pompilius" (semi-underground at the Soviet times) he meets Andrey, an aged man who was once imprisoned for an incident on a coal mine that was under his management. After the show they take a walk in a park and suddenly discover that a movie is being made there. The two want to find a better place to see the movie-makers set and Andrey suggests one. The two run around a high concrete fence and Andrey stumbles at a thick wire stuck in the ground. He falls. Once he is up the both men walk to the end of the fence and suddenly find there is no park behind it: they see a steam engine and a militiaman in the uniform of Stalin times, they find themselves in a little coal-mining town they were both grown in. Soon Andrey begins to think that fate gives him a chance to prevent the accident he was imprisoned for, Sergey unwillingly discovers his father's generation for himself, their time, their lives and what they lived for.
Acting, as well as photography and direction is absolutely amazing. The scenes in the old coal mine are stunning and unforgettable. Very sensible and thoughtful movie that still doesn't leave a heavy trace as all the Tarkovsky's works. And of course, some knowledge of who Stakhanov and NKVD were would be very helpful if you want to understand everything.