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Tsar (2009)

6.8
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In 16th-century Russia in the grip of chaos, Ivan the Terrible strongly believes he is vested with a holy mission. Believing he can understand and interpret the signs, he sees the Last ... See full summary »

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Title: Tsar (2009)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Pyotr Mamonov ...
Oleg Yankovskiy ...
Ramilya Iskander ...
Mariya Temryukovna
Anastasiya Dontsova ...
Masha
Aleksandr Domogarov ...
Aleksei Basmanov
Aleksandr Ilin ...
Fedka Basmanov
...
Heinrich Staden (as Ville Khaapasalo)
Aleksey Frandetti ...
Kai-Bulat
Ivan Okhlobystin ...
Vassian
Yuriy Kuznetsov ...
Malyuta Skuratov
Aleksey Makarov ...
General Kolychev
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Andrey Bronnikov
Aleksandr Lobanov ...
Mitka Pleshcheev
Aleksandr Makarov ...
Voevoda Buturlin
Artyom Mazunov
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Storyline

In 16th-century Russia in the grip of chaos, Ivan the Terrible strongly believes he is vested with a holy mission. Believing he can understand and interpret the signs, he sees the Last Judgment approaching. He establishes absolute power, cruelly destroying anyone who gets in his way. During this reign of terror, Philip, the superior of the monastery on the Solovetsky Islands, a great scholar and Ivan's close friend, dares to oppose the sovereign's mystical tyranny. What follows is a clash between two completely opposite visions of the world, smashing morality and justice, God and men. A grand-scale film with excellent leading roles by Mamonov and Yankovsky. An allegory of Stalinist Russia. Written by Warsaw Film Festival

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Genres:

Drama | History

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4 November 2009 (Russia)  »

Also Known As:

Tsar  »

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2.35 : 1
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Referenced in Pozner: Pavel Lungin (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Masterful acting, but movie lacks direction
30 October 2010 | by (Poland) – See all my reviews

Who was Ivan the Terrible? Was he really as terrible as the name suggests or it this mostly myth and bad PR? Pawel Lungin seems to agree with the previous and paints a terrifying portrait of his persona with the ultimate counterpoint in Metropolitanate Philipp, the religious overseer of Moscow and the Church. In this tale of madness, torture and dementia the innocent will perish, but will stick with their ideals, while the cruel remain with only eternal damnation that awaits them...

Both main actors Pyotr Mamonov (Ivan) and Oleg Yankovskiy (Philipp) are a real tour de force. They are absolutely unbelievably good in the parts they play and especially Mamonov gives possibly the best performance I have seen in years. And yet with some much going for the movie in the actor department I felt massively under-awed by the direction of this movie.

The story never really flows or builds and essentially history passes this movie by. This would be acceptable if the focus on the two protagonists was well handled and showed a consistent cause and effect. However we never really get to feel what is happening in Russia and how that is affecting the Tsar. In the end most is left to imagination or historical knowledge, as the movie merely suggests several key moments in time, but all this happens off screen. The background - so necessary for clarity - is hardly mentioned or is passed totally. In the end you never really understand the changes in Ivan and the engulfing madness. Additionally his actions and words are incoherent and show either bad script-doctoring or an inability to convey the character as being inconsistent in his madness. Within several minutes you see Ivan turn from a god-fearing fanatic claiming all his deeds are in the name of God and for his glory into someone claiming that ruling a country takes place outside of God. No credible build-up was really given to such a sudden change of views.

All in all the madness is inconsistent and after watching the movie I feel like I know less about Ivan than before watching it. Also the overly religious motifs, which plague the movie really irked me in the wrong places.


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