A bickering couple drive fast through a downpour to catch the last ferry to their island retreat. In a flash, they recognize a crumpled body laying at the side of the road after much ... See full summary »
The movie chronicles the events of history's "man of mystery," Rasputin. Although not quite historically accurate and little emphasis is put on the politics of the day, Rasputin's rise to ... See full summary »
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Barkley Michaelson is in a deep life rut. He's struggling to finish his PhD thesis when his father, the learned Eli Michaelson, wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Barkley and his mother, ... See full summary »
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
After Rasputin first heals Alexis, when Nicholas and Alexandra are conversing privately, Nicholas is seen wearing a shirt with a capital letter "N" monogram, presumably for his first name. In the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, however, the capital letter corresponding to an English N is written as "H". See more »
Grigori Rasputin is one of history's most colourful and bizarre figures, and Alan Rickman, who stars in this HBO film of his life as part of a largely English cast, is one of the few actors with the charisma to play him. Unfortunately, the film doesn't get a lot else right: it's full of tiresome plot exposition, while offering little in the way of a convincing depiction of the daily life of the Russian court. Crucially, Rasputin's character (to the outsider, a mixture of visionary madman, drunken fool and cunning conman) is never adequately dissected: we see all aspects of his behaviour, but the film never dares suggests what it thinks might make him tick. It's also ludicrously sympathetic to the Russian royal family, Ian McKellan play the Tsar as a kindly uncle, and I never expected to see a portrayal of the brutal Stolypin (sometime Prime Minister) bathed in such a warm light. The story (or legend) of Rasputin's death is always amusing to recall; and there's some rarely seen real footage of the Eastern Front spliced into the film. But there's little real insight into the man or his times; a disappointment, especially given the cast list.
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