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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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 »
OK, you can look at this film in two ways - either as a good play, or as an historical drama. It works both ways, although my main quibble would be that one is left with little real idea of why the revolution took place and what Rasputin's role in this was. For that reason, it could have done with being a bit longer and more detailed. Rickman plays Rasputin with humour and humanity - not the one-dimensional monster of most other films about him, which is a good thing from both a dramatic and historical point of view. Ian McKellen as Nicholas II has sweetness and dignity although he is probably too old for the role, and the scenes where he almost loses his temper are (historically) highly improbable! I have no problems with Greta Scaachi's acting, but from a historical point of view her portrayal of the Empress is altogether too vulnerable and lacking in fight; and why the German accent in certain scenes!?
I doubt there will ever be a film that pleases all of the various fans/critics of Nicholas and Alexandra, Rasputin and the Russian revolution; this one is better and less sensational than most.
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