A Gambler's Gambler but don't try these working habits at home
I ran to see this at its initial release, because I'd read most of Dostoevski's work and could not resist a film with such high credentials. My second viewing confirms the film as a masterful lie like truth. It must have been this way, even if it wasn't. The scenes of the novel reflect those of the writing, but palely, as the collaborators construct an engaging and deeply felt film out of the writing of a pretty darn good work of fiction, which Dostoevski created out of his own experience and insight.
Makk and the screenwriters have followed the wise course of giving the best actors, most naturalistic style and deepest characters to the frame tale: The saga of the life-ravaged writer's race to finish his novel or lose his future. The writer's story, of obsessed gamblers at a casino in Germany, is stylistically distanced in performance as well as character depth and cinematography.
As the novelist's deadline approaches and the novel's characters meet their fates, the two merge in a delicately hallucinatory interaction which is carried into a deeply satisfying and complex conclusion.
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