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Patrick Viktor Monroe
Bobby Holland Hanton
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Story is set against the backdrop of WWI and follows Christopher Tietjens, a top civil servant from a background of wealth and privilege, whose marriage flounders almost as soon as it begins. He falls in love with another woman, but he remains honorable for some considerable time to Sylvia who has several affairs. On top of this, Chris is dealing with shell shock and partial memory loss that he endures during the war. Written by
Benedict Cumberbatch claimed that his character of Christopher Tietjen was one of the more admirable he has ever played. He claimed "[Christopher] has many admirable qualities I'd like to siphon off into my life." See more »
The script from Sir Tom Stoppard is as witty and genius-level as one would expect. Sussana White featured innovative style of direction with the frequent use of mirrors. Photography is just utterly breathtaking.
Rebecca Hall has the easy task of being a standout with a flashy and emotional character in Sylvia Tietjens. She has moments of utter brilliance and instances of pure over-the-top acting that is too overt and theatrical for the era. Nonetheless, with Stoppard giving her the juiciest lines and the costume department lavishing her with exquisite period clothing, it was rendered beautifully as a whole.
From Benedict Cumberbatch's pyrotechnic performance in Sherlock, here he is as understated and tight-lipped as you would imagine an English aristocrat is. Despite portraying a character described as wooden in the novel, his performance conveys beautifully the internal vulnerability and confusion of Christopher Tietjens- a task that should be highly regarded. Cumberbatch wholly inhabited the character with the use of body language and vocal quality we haven't seen before in any of his previous works. A performance that continues to prove that he is one of finest actors of his generation.
One of the main characters, Valentine was slightly underdeveloped in this adaptation. Thus, the love-triangle aspect of the story was not as compelling as it is in the novel. Despite that, this is a topnotch period drama with high literary pedigree and a first class production the BBC and HBO are known for.
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