In 1910s Russia, Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra find their son Alexei, sole heir to the Romanov dynasty, suffering from hemophelia and conventional medicine failing to help him. Alexandra looks into finding holistic treatment and finds Father Grigori 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 charleton/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
The movie shows various historical events in incorrect time sequence. For example, the movie depicts Stolypin as being assassinated after the outbreak of the First World War, whereas he was assassinated in 1911 and the First World War started in 1914. Similarly, the movie has the Empress saying at the 1913 Romanov tercentenary celebration that she has been suffering for twelve years on account of the Tsarevich's illness, whereas in fact the Tsarevich was born in 1904. See more »
Although they script writers took the sensationalized story route every time, they nonetheless wrote a powerful script that can't help but have you foaming at the mouth to learn more about Rasputin and the breakdown of the Russian Empire. If you know very little about the collapse of the Russian Empire, then this film would have to be the best introduction you will get.
The cinematography in this film was absolutely gorgeous with wonderful contrasting colors illustrating the richness of the Romanov life, the bleak coldness of the Siberian plains and the stark conditions of the Russian Empire. The music was hauntingly beautiful and complemented the film perfectly. When music suits a film, it IS noticeable!
And then there is the acting... Alan Rickman is sensational as Rasputin, portraying the moody and incoherent Rasputin with a fabulous chameleon-like zeal. Ian McKellum so perfectly portrays the Tsar, Nicholas II (or at least, as one would perceive Nicholas to be from history books) that it is plain spooky! Great Scacchi is also wonderful as the Tsarina.
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