War & Peace (2016)
8.6/10
398
3 user 6 critic

Episode #1.6 

The Rostovs leave Moscow as the French army draws near, leading to an unexpected reunion, Pierre performs a heroic act which has repercussions for both he and his wife, while Sonya makes an important decision.

Director:

Tom Harper

Writers:

Leo Tolstoy (based on the book by), Andrew Davies
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Mathieu Kassovitz ... Napoleon Bonaparte
Guillaume Faure ... Napoleon's Adjutant
Otto Farrant ... Petya Rostov
Adrian Edmondson ... Count Ilya Rostov
Greta Scacchi ... Countess Natalya Rostova
Lily James ... Natasha Rostova
Aisling Loftus ... Sonya Rostova
Oscar Pearce Oscar Pearce ... Lieutenant Colonel
Paul Dano ... Pierre Bezukhov
Vsevolod Chubenko Vsevolod Chubenko ... Moscow Man
Thibaut Evrard Thibaut Evrard ... Capitaine Ramballe
James Norton ... Andrei Bolkonsky
Antanas Surgailis Antanas Surgailis ... Rostov Coachman
Vesta Gabstaite Vesta Gabstaite ... Rostov Maid (as Vesta Grabstaite)
Katherine Manners Katherine Manners ... Desperate Mother
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Storyline

As the French armies approach Moscow there is panic in the streets and the Rostovs join the exodus from the city. Pierre, believing he can kill Napoleon, remains and after an act of reckless heroism is taken prisoner with many others, including the perpetually optimistic Platon Karataev, who gives him a new outlook on life. Pierre is rescued by a Russian raiding party led by Dolokhov though Natasha's brother Petya dies in the fight and the French, defeated by the harsh winter, ultimately retreat. Meanwhile Natasha is reunited with the severely wounded Andrei and stays with him until the end. There is further bad news for the Rostovs, forcing Sonya and Nikolai to make decisions though Pierre finds himself released from his marriage and free to make another proposal. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Plot Keywords:

based on book | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance | War

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Details

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 February 2016 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

Lithuania See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Color:

Color
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Quotes

Marya Bolkonskaya: If you knew how long I've been waiting for you!
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User Reviews

 
War, reunions, heroism and decision-making
17 June 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Anybody who even as much attempts to adapt Leo Tolstoy's magnum opus 'War and Peace' deserves at least a pat on the back for trying, regardless of how successful it is in doing so or not. The novel is one of the greatest there is, but because of the enormous length (one of the longest novels there is, and it was admittedly not the easiest to immediately get gripped at first), very rich story and dialogues, and complex characterisations and themes it is also one of the most difficult to adapt.

Of the major versions, the best version is the 1972 mini-series with Anthony Hopkins, not only an ideal adaptation of the book and as faithful as one could get but also brilliant in its own right, one of the best the BBC ever produced. The 1966 Russian one directed by Sergei Bondarchuk, while not as accessible, is a close second, a towering achievement and contains the best battle and ballroom scenes of all the 'War and Peace' adaptations. The 1956 King Vidor film has a number of good things, like the production values, the music score, Audrey Hepburn and some of the supporting cast but the sound quality and two male leads are very problematic and the story is not as riveting as it could have been. Faring least is the 2007 adaptation with Clemence Posey as Natasha, beautiful production values and some impressive supporting performances but sunk by the problematic performances of the three leading characters, awkward and underwritten script-writing and bland storytelling.

This latest offering from 2016, courtesy of BBC, is not as good as the 1972 mini-series or the Sergei Bondarchuk film, but is far more successful than the 1956 film and 2007 adaptation. This is a very good episode, if not one hundred percent flawless.

Although the production values are wonderful on the whole, some of the costumes don't fit as well with the period and are not as lavish as the rest and some of the make-up is 21st century-ish.

Do think that the series could have done with having two episodes more, with so much to cover this episode did feel rushed.

However, considering that adapting 'War and Peace' is a mammoth task and virtually impossible to be word for word, detail for detail this does very well as an adaptation. It is condensed and not one hundred percent faithful, but the heart and soul of the book is there and while focusing predominantly on the relationships between the characters and the characterisations it is very intelligently written and everything feels coherent and emotionally investible. Even if the Sergei Bondarchuk film has more beautiful ballroom scenes and more powerful war scenes, this adaptation hardly underwhelms in either.

'War and Peace' (2016) stands brilliantly on its own, and shouldn't be marked down solely for it not being a completely faithful adaptation, that is not fair on the adaptation as they are two different mediums and deserve to be treated as such.

It is wonderfully made for starters. The photography is some of the most beautiful personally seen all year on television, almost poetic and heart-breaking in its beauty, the settings, interiors and period detail is sumptuous in every sense. It's always special when scenery is like a character all of its own and the Russian landscapes is one of the greatest examples of that, as well as looking exquisite, seen anywhere on film or television not just this year but possibly ever.

Another standout is the music score, words cannot describe how amazing it is, almost like another character. Not only is it so dynamic with every scene, with the haunting choirs, chilling ambiance, poetic nuance and rousing bombast even enhancing the impact, but it serves as an amazing score on its own and one of the best music scores for television this year as well as worthy of its very own soundtrack album.

The script is very literate and intelligent, the characterisation meaty and the dialogue always flowing beautifully. The storytelling throughout is engrossing with a lot packed in but elaborated upon enough to make it fascinating and easy to follow.

Performances are top-notch, regardless of any reservations as to whether certain actors are right physically. Paul Dano's sensitive and multi-faceted portrayal Pierre is one of the most successful ones of all 'War and Peace' adaptations, and is one of his best overall performances. James Norton is a handsome, commanding and tragic Andrei. In support, standouts are an outstanding Jessie Buckley, Tuppence Middleton as a Helene that's somewhat both a villain and a victim and Jim Broadbent's incredibly powerful and affecting Bolkonsky. Greta Scacchi and Adrian Edmonson also fare well. Lily James is charming, wasn't sure about her at first but Natasha has become more interesting here and in the third episode meaning that James was able to be more at ease.

Overall, very good if rushed. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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