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In 1910s Russia, Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra find their son Alexei, sole heir to the Romanov dynasty, suffering from hemophilia and conventional medicine failing to help him. Alexandra looks into finding holistic treatment and finds Father Grigory Rasputin , a destitute monk who claims he had a vision from the Virgin Mary telling him that the Tsar needed him. Though Nicholas and the royal doctor are both skeptical of Rasputin's alleged healing abilities, young Alexei quickly bonds with the charlton/prophet, so he remains in the Royal Court. But Rasputin's constant boozing and womanizing angers the aristocracy and worsens the already unstable tensions between Nicholas and his subjects. With the seeds of revolution brewing, it becomes increasingly apparent that a bad end awaits for the entire Royal Family. Written by
When Rasputin arrives in St. Petersburg he is shown standing before the Winter Palace in Palace Square. The palace appears as it does today, painted green with white and gold accents. At the time of Rasputin's arrival in 1911 however, the palace was painted entirely in dull red. The palace's current color scheme was not applied until the 1930s. See more »
Tsar Nicholas II:
Smile. I never see you smile. Do you remember the little cottage we stayed in when we visited your family in Germany? And the picnics we used to have, and the songs we sang under the chestnut trees?
What in the world made you think of that?
Tsar Nicholas II:
And how those fisherman splashed us with their oars and didn't know who we were. We were soaked all over. And how we never ever wanted to leave... we are locked in, the key has been lost and now we must stay there forever.
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Miracle man or a fraud? Saint or devil? Holy person or someone with good tricks to show? HBO's cinebiography of Father Grigori Rasputin doesn't reveal the mystery and always gives us more and more questions about one of the most influential and controversial figures of Russia during the kingdom of the last Russian tsar.
Played by Alan Rickman as an unstoppable enigma, Rasputin was priest, drunken, womanizer and troublemaker, gaining notoriety by helping sick people to get cure for things that were incurable, claiming to have seen the Virgin Mary and working as sort of an holy authority capable of performing miracles. His most famous patient (and strangely selected as the story's narrator) was Prince Aleksei (Freddie Findlay),hemophiliac and the only male child of the Romanov's, tsar Nicholas II (Ian McKellen) and Alexandra (Greta Scacchi), and as many knows the treatment works wonders, surprising everyone in the family and causing some doubts and jealousy among the Royal doctors, suspicious of such miracle maker, who seeks to interfere on the politics of the country. That involvement and his troubled behavior led to a conspiracy in which he was the main victim but taking with him the destiny of a nation and the end of an empire.
Favorable points: the great costumes and the detailed, spectacular art direction, and some insights about the main figure specially what concerns about his talent for predicting things like the death of one of Nicholas aides and the fall of the empire. The story, even with its focus on social and political issues, is simple to follow, very informative to viewers.
Less favorable points: those who deeply know about the man and his life won't find this film so satisfying or enjoyable. Uli Edel didn't put much vigor in this work, sometimes melodramatic and forced. The cast is good but they don't move us in the it was supposed to; Rickman is the best in show, really exposing some pain and some madness but he's not my favorite Rasputin. I suggest you to check Tom Baker's performance in "Nicholas and Alexandra" (1971) where he stole the show from the leading characters with an amazing realism, natural. He seems bigger than life but at the same time he looks real, believable. And let's face it, that was a better movie as well.
"Rasputin" doesn't stain the reputation of the man nor judges him; it just incites doubt in our heads in trying to figure out who he really was. A decent film, but far from being memorable. 6/10
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