"Turning the traditional documentary format on its head, potentially creating a whole new genre unto itself"

The word 'hero' is one that has been bandied around often in the 21st Century, especially when it comes to movies and entertainment. Ask anybody on the street and they will reel off an extensive list of well-known and popular heroes - both male and female, super-powered or otherwise. But, ask the very same people whether they knew the name Stanislav Petrov, and, more often than not, the response would be a blank stare and a casual shrug of the shoulders.

Stanislav Petrov is a former lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defence Forces. And, for a brief time, held the fate of the world in his hands. On September 26, 1983, he held the fate of the world in his hands. Stanislav Petrov is, literally, and with not an iota of hyperbole, is the man who saved the world.

A decade in the making and two decades overdue, Peter Anthony brings to the screen both a revelatory character portrait and an incredible story. Turning the traditional documentary format on its head, potentially creating a whole new genre unto itself, The Man Who Saved the World is a film that is an equal blend of real-life, then present day footage and dramatised reconstruction. The former tells the story of a forgotten man, broken by time and circumstance rediscovering the love that exists in the world. And the latter of which, featuring fluid editing and an amazing score, is captured with the kind of cinematic flair more becoming of a Hollywood blockbusters of the famous faces Stanislav encounters, as he embarks on a tour across the United States which he saved from utter annihilation. It poses and gives voice to some extremely important social and political questions and insights along the way.

Equally noteworthy is the wonderfully emotive performance from Sergey Shnyryov as the younger version of Stanislav. Navigating each scene with aplomb - be they terrifying or tragic, personal of professional. Not a facial expression or movement wasted, drawing the audience even further in and forcing people to experience each tense or tragic moment and every ounce of pain along with him. The scenes revolving around his crucial decision positively drips with as much tension as his brow brims do with sweat. And the moments spent with his wife are both genuinely sweet and emotionally devastating, offering nuance and a depth of humanity that is often dismissed in favour of the surface appearance of an enemy soldier, and can't always be imagined and put to page, as well as also adding to the bafflement and horror that strikes the heart upon the recollection that this is actually a true story.

Armed not with a gun or super-strength but with heart and compassion, Peter Anthony has placed the name of a real-life hero - Stanislav Petrov - amongst the fictional likes of John McClane, Iron Man, and ninety-nine percent of Arnold Schwarzenegger characters. As well as, simultaneously, crafting a truly stunning and accomplished film around him, demonstrating that truth really is stranger than fiction and true heroes do exist, even if they themselves fail to see it and the world fails to realise.

The Man Who Saved the World is a film that, in the modern climate, offers concerns more troubling and carries a message that is more poignant than ever. A verdict made all the more impressive and inspiring given the fact that this is the Danish filmmaker's directorial debut.

All in all, this might just be one of the most important films of our time! Maybe even of all time!