Wednesday, March 3

Film Review: The Last Station


I went to see this film expecting to be confused by the philosophies and politics of Tolstoy, to be bewildered by references to a massive text, War and Peace, that I have never read and until today had no plan to read either.

What I got from this film instead was both surprising and welcome. The Last Station is not a story about the fight for the copyright of Count Leo Tolstoy's writing but instead it is a drama which deals with the themes of love, possession, betrayal and freedom.

Titles at the beginning of the film inform the ignorant (i.e. me) that Tolstoy was revered almost as a living legend and was regarded by some as a prophet. His philosophies about social justice, private possession and love are revered by many and as a whole these philosophies take on the moniker of Tolstoyism.

The main protagonist (James McAvoy) is a young Tolstoyan who is employed as secretary to Leo and in this position as privileged outsider witnesses Leo dismantle his own marriage, setting aside the wishes of his wife to pander to his sycophantic disciples.

The Countesses (Helen Mirren) attempts to manipulate, corner and hurt her husband seem to this viewer to be a cry for her husband's attention and for his love. Unfortunately her attempts become so desperate that it becomes far too easy for Leo's aide, played by a particularly snivelling Paul Gambaccini to poison the marriage further and convince Leo to first betray and then leave his wife.

At times the drama seems schizophrenic, with passionate fights being allayed by flirtation and loving couples turning their backs on each other within the course of a conversation. Yet the emotion and sentiment never seems insincere, and the overlal tone of the movie is uplifting and hopeful.

Ultimately of all the themes within this movie, the most important is love and it is successfully communicated that despite the tribulations all the characters go through, their main motivation is love. This achievement alone makes The Last Station a must see, add to this great performances from all the principles, beautiful scenery in the Russian country side and Tolstoy's old home, and competent direction from Michael Hoffman and the result is a movie that I can't recommend strongly enough.

Label Cloud

London (66) Just Plain Silly (46) Yak (43) Photos (40) Photography (39) Rant (35) Photo (34) Video (33) people (24) photoshop (22) Poetry (20) Portrait (20) Review (16) film (16) England (15) Travel (15) Music (11) Photowalk (10) 5adaychallenge (6) Bestival (6) Festival (6) art (6) movies (6) 43Things.com (5) Japanese (5) Night (5) School (5) Street (5) UK (5) trailer (5) Black andamp; White (4) Cathedral (4) Costume (4) Greenwich (4) Love (4) Norfolk (4) Tattoo Convention (4) WDPS (4) Winter (4) Woman (4) America (3) Animals (3) Autumn (3) Bow Creek (3) Canterbury (3) Charlie Clempson (3) Hipstamatic (3) Performance (3) Photographic Assignments (3) Snow (3) Summer (3) flowers (3) iphone (3) religion (3) whitstable (3) Abstract (2) Beach (2) Bird (2) Carnival (2) Cats (2) Comics (2) Dancing (2) Fireworks (2) Flickr (2) Ganes (2) Hats (2) Leytonstone (2) Mirror (2) Monochrome (2) New Year (2) Notting Hill (2) Sculptures (2) Sky (2) Soho (2) South Bank (2) Tattoos (2) Toy (2) Trinity Buoy Wharf (2) Westminster (2) Wildlife (2) blog (2) camera (2) cars (2) forwards (2) nature (2) party (2) postcards (2) seaside (2) sport (2) spring (2) 620 Film (1) 90's (1) A-Team (1) Acrobatics (1) Aerosol (1) Airport (1) Alcohol (1) Anne Rice (1) Antique (1) Batman (1) Bicycles (1) Bokeh (1) Book Cover (1) Box (1) Boy George (1) Bridge (1) Bristol (1) Brixton (1) Brownie (1) Bull (1) Cake (1) Calm (1) Camden (1) Challenge (1) Chinese (1) Christmas (1) Church (1) City (1) Colour (1) Covent Garden (1) Crowds (1) DLR (1) Daruma (1) David Twohy (1) Diptych (1) Dog (1) Dulwich (1) Epic Fail (1) Eric Radomski (1) Erotic Book Store (1) Exotic (1) Fatboy Slim (1) Fire (1) Fire Eater (1) Flame (1) Foreign Policy (1) Fox (1) Fruit (1) GRass (1) Gallery (1) Gayla Partridge (1) Glasses (1) Goat (1) Gosh (1) Graffiti (1) Gull (1) HMS (1) Hands (1) Hawk-Eye (1) Hearts (1) Heron Quay (1) Heygate (1) Horse (1) Hot Chip (1) ICA (1) James Bond (1) John McTiernan (1) Kanye West (1) Katherine Green (1) Landscape (1) Leaves (1) Links (1) Lomo (1) Mac (1) Markets (1) Meetups (1) Michael Hoffman (1) Mobile Phone (1) Monkey (1) Niels Arden Oplev (1) Nuts (1) Orange (1) PC (1) PS3 (1) Panoramic (1) Patrick Cox (1) Pepsi (1) Rain (1) Reflections (1) Ropes (1) Science Museum (1) Security (1) Self-Pity (1) Sex (1) Shine (1) Spotify (1) Squirrels (1) Stain Glass (1) Stations (1) Steve Gordon (1) Steven Spielberg (1) Street Fighter (1) Summer Sonic (1) Sunset (1) Sunshine (1) Swords (1) TV (1) Taiko (1) Technology (1) Thames (1) The Last Shadow Puppets (1) The O2 (1) The Wachowski Brothers (1) Top 5 (1) Towers (1) Toys (1) Umbrella (1) Union Jack (1) Wellies (1) White (1) Window (1) Winner (1) Words (1) Youtube (1) anime (1) atheism (1) bikes (1) cartoon (1) cheese (1) cityPGame (1) comedy (1) dance (1) desk (1) doctor who (1) dreadlocks (1) email (1) fredericfontenoy.com (1) hair (1) hip-hop (1) huts (1) kites (1) lecture (1) memorial (1) nudes (1) parrot (1) piece (1) portraits (1) royal (1) running (1) sakura (1) shoes (1) square (1) symbols (1) symetry (1) tezuka osamu (1) the future (1) thoughts (1) transsexual (1) vide (1) wedding (1)