The 9th Company (Russian: 9 Рота) is a 2005 Russian–Finnish–Ukrainian film directed by Fyodor Bondarchuk and set during the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. The film is loosely based on the events of the Battle for Hill 3234. The protagonists are a group of young recruits of the Soviet Airborne Troops, first arriving at boot camp in Soviet Central Asia and receiving combat training, until they are sent to the frontline where they are stationed in a remote base, surrounded with hostile locals. Soon, they find themselves ordered to hold a hilltop post at all cost, while the mujahideen decide to strike.
This work contains examples of following tropes:
A Father to His Men: Both Dygalo and Khokhol use extreme measures to respectively train and keep their men alive, but in the same time they really care about their lives and well-being.
Darkest Hour: After a day-long battle, almost all named characters are dead. There is only a handful of soldiers left, surrounded by seemingly endless mass of Afgani fighters. Their highest ranking personel is Junior Sergeant. They are almost out of ammo and without any means of calling backup.
Dygalo was planting such attitude into his men. When one of them wets himself during stresfull assignment and the rest burst in laught, Dygalo berates them and points out that the mission was still fulfilled, which is more important than anything else.
Pinochet ended up with few bullets in his chest. His reaction? He strangled his attacker right before dying. With a smile.
End of an Age: While it's only hinted in-story, the film takes place in final years of Soviet Union (Perestroika is already in effect) and Cold War. The confusion between soldiers what is actually happening in politics is pretty accurate portrait of that time.
I Shall Taunt You: An Afgani fighter starts shouting insults toward commander of garrison in broken Russian. While both sides find it amusing, after few laughts the Soviets promptly open fire. It's implied to be their local tradition.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dygalo is an epitome of Drill Sergeant Nasty, but he doesn't allow bullying (at least when it's someone else than him bullying) and use all his strength to turn his antagonizing soldiers into a Band of Brothers. Being a Shell-Shocked Veteran adds its own weight, since he's fully aware what could happen to those boys in Afghanistan, so he hides all his feelings under a jaded facade.
Mildly Military: Hastly trained conscripts are sent from all over the Soviet Union to Afganistan. Poor military conduct is almost guaranteed - everyone is getting constantly drunk and abuse of new conscripts by older ones is a norm. On the other hand, things like sleeping during watch are summarily punished.
Just when one of the the battles starts, The Captain gets killed and ammo storage is blown up, taking radio station along with it.
Lyutyy, after realising he's the top-ranking soldier alive. He's a Junior Sergeantnote a rank similar to OR-3 by NATO standards.
Overt Operative: The Afghan warriors are led/accompanied by a guy in sunglasses and of suspiciously Western features.
Poor Communication Kills: The hill and the road protagonists were supposed to guard lost its strategic value. Due to a bureaucratic mess, the orders never reach them. But since all units are removed from that area, the Afgani feel free to attack in big numbers. The final result is death of everyone aside from a single soldier. All because an order didn't reach its destination.
Unflinching Walk: The Afgani in the end. Having about twenty times bigger force than the Soviets may have something to do with that.
Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The actual Battle of Hill 3234 did not end with a Kill 'em All of the Soviet platoon. In reality, the Soviets took 6 losses while the mujahadeen lost 200 - 250 fighters. In addition, the film shows that the military chain of command forgot about the hill and they were left to fend for themselves. In the actual battle, they were in constant communication with headquarters and had artillery and air support.
These historical liberties so outraged some Russians that a video game called The Truth About 9th Company was made in 2008 that strove to depict the battle much more accurately.
War Is Glorious: Gioconda believes in a specific form of it. He lampshades that he doesn't expect others to get his point.