Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Rasputin *

This is a made for TV movie about Rasputin (surprise). Rasputin was a Russian monk around the turn of the last century who saw various visions and was therefore crazy, not to mention he really was crazy. He had a lot of influence with the Russian czar, Nicholas something or another who was slaughtered (with his family) by the communists after the revolution. If you don't know anything about the communist revolution in Russia, this is not the film to enlighten you. This is a character study of Rasputin. Given that Rasputin was weird, this is not the most comfortable experience, but since it was made for TV, nothing is over top.

I suffered through this film (here) as it is listed as a 'must-see' film by those posting on Alan Rickman fan sites. Well, if you liked Rickman in Prince of Thieves, I suppose you'd enjoy his performance here. However, I disliked him in Prince of Thieves. So, I personnally could not see much of anything to recommend this film except Ian McKellen's performance, which although not exceptional, was well done. McKellen is the actor that played Gandolf in the trilogy. McKellen's czar was charismatic and I felt uncomfortably sympathetic towards him. It's true that the communists who slaughtered him, his wife and children, his staff, and the family dog, were inhumanely brutal, but if my vague Russian history serves me right, 'bloody Nicholas' as he was nicknamed, wasn't exactly a lily-white character. I thought the movie shouldn't have had such a 'good guys' and 'bad guys' feel to it. Rickman's turn as Rasputin was ok, but honestly I didn't think his character exuded nearly enough charisma to overcome the sense that the man was astonishingly unhygenic. I'm not one to notice such things, but I couldn't help cringing in the snogging scenes in this movie.