Adaptation of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" set in rural Australia in the 1920's. Jack Dickens and his niece Sally run the family farm to support brother-in-law Alexander as a (supposedly ...
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Adaptation of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" set in rural Australia in the 1920's. Jack Dickens and his niece Sally run the family farm to support brother-in-law Alexander as a (supposedly brilliant) literary critic in London. Action begins when Alexander returns with his beautiful young wife Deborah, revealing himself as an arrogant failure and wanting to sell the farm out from under Jack. Blakemore introduces themes about Australia's separation from England, as well as expanding the pacifist and ecological philosophies espoused by the local Doctor Max Askey. Written by
The director, Michael Blakemore, takes an artistic gamble by loosely adapting Anton Chekhov's play, Uncle Vanya, to Australia. It works on his terms, with Blakemore doing a fine job as the returning native son. Greta Scacchi, whose effect on the locals as his new and young wife is presented in an effective fashion, also performs well. The direction is somewhat uneven and, as a result, the cast does not achieve an ensemble effect so important for the filmization/adaptation. Sam Neill, as is customary, plays Sam Neill. However, Kerry Fox, a brilliant actress, shines. The production design and costumes are nicely and accurately created. In sum, Blakemore does not attempt to go beyond the perimeter of the original masterwork by Chekhov who, after all, is the originator of the "slice of life" genre.
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