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Exposition-filled, clumsy badness with what should have been a good cast.
This film is surprisingly appalling. Another reviewer states that he does not understand why no-one has claimed the screenplay, but I don't understand the lack of understanding; I can't imagine that anyone would willingly admit to writing this script - however, it seems the director has (and apparently based on Chekhov and Turgenev, no less.)
Then again, it was also the director's decision to include the exposition filled voice-over. (***Possible spoiler, although not really a major plot development as the film does not really contain any***)We know that the voice-over is an older Vladimir, we can see the younger Vladimir (Nick Stahl) following the object of his attraction (Kirsten Dunst), so why does the voice-over tell us that Vladimir is following her?(***) The director should be banned from making films until he learns the rule; show don't tell - or at the very least do not show *and* tell, because that just insults your audience.
There are many unintentionally comic moments and I admit to being so fascinated by the clumsiness of the story telling that I sat and watched the whole thing with morbid fascination.
It is a shame as there are some fine actors in this film. Julie Walters is usually fantastic especially in the type of character that is required of her here, James Fox starred in one of my favourite films, and I honestly used to think that I would enjoy Nick Stahl in any role
he usually brings such pathos to his characters.
I don't think that any actor could make the dialogue believable but it's sad that actors that I usually find believable and watchable are saddled with such clumsy writing and direction.
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