The English Surgeon: 4 of 5 stars

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Henry Marsh is a British neurosurgeon who is single-handedly trying to bring one hospital in one corner of Eastern Europe into the 21st century, at least in terms of his specialty. He makes frequent flights to Ukraine, toting used medical gear (some of which, he points out, should never have been discarded) and offering his expertise to Dr. Igor Kurilets, a younger doctor he has mentored, befriended and helped for more than 15 years.

Geoffrey Smith's sometimes touching film about Marsh shows a man who, by birth, knew how to keep his emotions in check (he is the ENGLISH surgeon, after all), but who is still haunted by a Ukrainian child he wasn't able to save years ago.

"How can you do nothing?" he wants to know. "How can you say, 'Go away and die?' "

He can't, even if he is giving, with Igor translating, a pretty young woman in her 20s no hope of anything but blindness and an early death.

The film is modest, but the subject is a man of rare humanity and stoic compassion.

Screening at: 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, Regal, 6:15 p.m. Friday, April 3, Regal.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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