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Film / December Heat

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A 2008 film Based on a True Story about the 1924 Estonian coup d'état attempt.

The young country of Estonia is dancing to the jazzy tune of the 1920's when on December 1, 1924, the capital Tallinn is overrun by members of the Comintern in an attempt to stage a Communist coup. The film follows the fates of a young soldier called Tanel and his wife, a telephone operator named Anna, amidst the ensuing chaos which determines whether the country remains independent or becomes a minor province in the Soviet Union.


This movie contains examples of:

  • After Action Patchup: Tanel has his arm bandaged with a rag over his coat. A bullet wound would require a pressure dressing.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: General Ernst Põdder. On his way home from a night of drinking he notices couple of revolutionaries attacking the telegraph centre, he proceeds to enter a brothel across the street and open fire at the communists from a window, wounding several of them. Throughout the film he continues to kick ass in similar manner. Truth in Television in his case - according to Donald Day, the Baltic correspondent of Chicago Tribune, who happened to join general Põdder during the coup, he shot a revolutionary over his left shoulder when taking back the post office. And this was after a night of drinking with fellow officers.
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  • Badass Bystander: The baker Julius takes up arms against the communists.
  • Badass Grandpa: General Ernst Põdder.
  • Big Bad: "The Lawyer" Jaan Anvelt
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The revolutionaries manage to take most of their targets. By the morning the armed forces have taken them all back, but a lot of soldiers and cadets had already been killed during the initial attacks.
  • Cavalry Refusal: There are 5000 Russian soldiers behind the Estonian border, ready to march in, but they never receive the signal to do so.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Averted, there is a lot of confusion in who exactly is part of the coup and who are loyalists. This is the focus of quite a few scenes as well.
  • The Coup: The attempt at one is the main premise of the film.
  • The Dragon: The Specialist.
  • False Flag Operation: The whole coup driven by exiled Estonian communists and Soviet authorities is meant to appear as a revolution by the Estonian proletariat.
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  • A Father to His Men: General Põdder.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: All of the Soviet officials plotting the coup from Leningrad.
  • I Meant to Do That: General Johan Unt excuses his inaction with this, claiming he was waiting for all of the communist conspirators show their true colours.
  • Improvised Weapon: A large stone slab is used to take out a communist sentry.
  • Inappropriately Close Comrades: The Lawyer and Elsa Kingissepp are paired up, the Specialist is not amused.
  • Modern Major General: General Johan Unt. He is warned several times by other officers that something has to be done about the communist threat-his response is to give lectures about patience.
  • Multinational Team: The Soviet officials behind the plot are from Latvia, Finland and Russia.
  • Oh, Crap!: Many of the Estonian sentries and soldiers get taken by surprise and have only seconds to realize what's coming.
  • Overnight Conquest: What the communists hope to achieve with the coup.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The Specialist gives one to the Lawyer after calling him out several times earlier.
  • Redshirt Army: Averted.
    • The communists manage to use the element of surprise to their advantage in the beginning, while the armed forces easily overwhelm them once they've had time to organize.
    • Unlike the sentries that were mostly taken by surprise, the policemen in their station manage to fight off the revolutionaries quite effectively until they are flanked.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The revolutionaries kill a lot of unarmed soldiers and 'bourgeois'. Some conversations point out that most of the revolutionaries are doing it to secure themselves better positions under the new regime.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: A junior officer learns that traitors are not liked on either side.
  • Rousing Speech: The communist agitators attempt to use this to get workers to take up arms against the state, but it doesn't work.
  • Screw the War, We're Partying!: Not exactly a war, but the high command is fully aware that there is a rise in communist activities. When General Põdder tells the head of state about his worries at a ball, he replies that at the moment it's time to party.
  • You Killed My Father: The baker's son ends up shooting The Specialist after his father was killed by him.


Example of: