Science fiction narrative weaved by the master of the craft
A critical debate between Pankaj Mishra and the author is extremely illuminating: www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n21/pankaj-mishra/watch-this-man
Whether the author is a classical Charles Oman's vulgarisateur or a la Ann Coulter from across the ocean is for the viewer to decide!
Were you to lament the former glory of British Empire with instinctive patriotic zeal and wistful for its positive accomplishments, then this is a movie you will appreciate. Were you to instinctively demonize British Empire, then you likely will feel insulted over and over through this movie. The academic debate on the role of Colonial Empires is much more balanced with careful assessment of incidental benefits that rule brought and negative consequences that exploitation brought.
It is unfortunately full of outright erroneous emotive pabulum steeped in old stereotypes. Ascribing white supremacist views to Russian elites in pre-WW1 days, is a classical Jungian externalization of eugenics enamored British tendencies of those days. Russia was afflicted with messianic zeal. But the famous and shameful "burden of white man" was substituted with equally questionable "defender of Orthodox faith" and "Third Rome" rhetoric, hence supra-ethnic definition of Russian nation as any Orthodox Christian living within borders of Russian Empire.
In short, it is a good and entertaining product from the self-proclaimed champion of counterfactual history. Just as one allows for creative freedom in fiction movies for the sake of production's amusement value, this movie deserves no less.
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