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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, 20 Jan 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Rasputin [VHS][1996] (VHS Tape)
This is one of the finest motion pictures made about Imperial Russia. The full glory, and tragedy, of late Imperial Russia and one of the most intriguing scandals of the 20th-century is brought vividly to life. Happily, the film does not indulge in any ridiculous, or lurid, idea that the Empress was Rasputin's lover. In fact, all of Rasputin's sexual antics are toned down (although they are dealt with) but it was quite refreshing to see the psychological side of Rasputin's character explored in more depth.
Alan Rickman certainly steals the show as the mysterious Siberian "holy man," and his complex portrayal of the man who many people still blame for the downfall of the Romanov dynasty was superb, eerie and unsettling in its intensity. Greta Scacchi delivers an absolutely stellar performance as the Empress Alexandra, whose genuine maternal instincts and love for her husband are shown without the tired old stereotype which shows her as an interfering shrew. Ian McKellen is also wonderful as Nicholas II, and once again the film pays a tribute to history by disregarding many inaccurate popular stereotypes. McKellen's portrayal of the Tsar is one of a devoted family man, conscientious sovereign and relatively independent personality; not the vapid, unintelligent, fatalistic, hen-picked moron of popular misconception.
The portrayals of Alexei, Prince Youssopov and Pytor Stolypin were all wonderful as well. The four actresses selected to play Nicholas and Alexandra's daughters also had a beautiful screen presence.
The psychological pressure applied to the imperial family because of Alexei's haemophilia is wonderfully presented, as is the religious atmosphere of late Tsarist Russia. The film's finest scenes is, undoubtedly, the murder of the Romanovs, which helps convey some of the horror of that terrible event.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie with no flaws, 18 Jan 2004
By 
Merilahti Kristiina (Finland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rasputin [VHS][1996] (VHS Tape)
The story of the last Romanovs starts from Siberia 1991: their bones are found and the boy, Alexei, introduces: "These are the bones of my mother, this is my family..." Then a leap back to 1880's and to a boy, who seems to read minds. 20 years later he - Rasputin - is doing hard labour in Siberia, until Virgin Mary appears to him. Very swiftly the plot takes us to St. Petersburg, where Rasputin convinces others of his mission. The boy, Alexei, narrates, how he came to heal him and was their only friend, no matter what people said about him later. The monk, who looks like a madman, knows about Alexei's illness, although it has been a state secret, and by speaking about sailing he takes the pain away, into himself, as it seems. A hypnotist, a fraud, a madman, a magical healer?
Rasputin convinces the Tzarina and later the Tzar of his abilities, so he has a place in court, although he is a very embarrassing man, uneducated, unpredictable and too fond of wine and gypsy prostitutes. Behind the scenes Russian people suffer, the First world war (predicted by Rasputin) is started and the last minutes of the Romanov family are at hand. Everything is told very economically, nothing too much and yet everything you need to know, with authentic film material cut into the story.
The film is a feast for the eyes and mind, even though some historical facts aren't exact. In fact: Rasputin's asketism was an odd one: women and wine, yes, sweets and pastries, no - so he never (probably) ate the poison. Anyway, this isn't a documentary. As a story it works like a dream, the actors are unbelievably good - so it really feels unfair to start talking about Rickman and not others. So I'm just saying: they are all wonderful, top of the trade. But the movie is called "Rasputin".
I've recently looked up films of Alan Rickman, partly because some of them are hard to find, but mostly because his way of acting is simply addictive. I think I finally know, why. It's a kind of pornography - of human soul. (Which is an embarrassing discovery, porn really isn't my cup of tea...) His Rasputin isn't just a calculating monk, who sees an opportunity to get a comfortable life, wine and women and power over people, but a man, who lives from moment to moment, uneducated, without manners, sensual, in some ways stupid and in some ways clever. At times you see a strong, manipulative, hypnotic monk who makes you believe in God and Virgin Mary and seems to be able to look into your soul, at times there is child-like sincerity and vulnerability. He believes he has a mission, but it also gives him pain, he sees things but doesn't see, how his conduct affects the falling empire. "I didn't choose to be holy!" he says like a weak human being, who has been trusted with a burden, that is much too heavy. Strong, vulnerable, wise, fallable, loving, selfish... Is this the real Rasputin? Very possibly. Human beings are just as mixed and as capable of being both angelic and devilish as Rickman shows - in this and other movies.
Oh yes, I felt great pity for Rasputin, though I wouldn't want him living in my house. And I'm glad I don't know Rickman in person, he seems to know too well, what we people are like. Who wants her mind to be x-rayed? Even by Rickman (who is, I admit, in his own way, enchanting)?
Watch this movie, if you want to understand history, people or acting. Look at these actors and actresses, they don't act, they are the characters. Rickman is just the best example of how to become someone else than one really is, whether it is Rasputin, Mesmer or other things he's done. Watch this!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alan Rickman's role brings Russian history to life, 21 Jan 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Rasputin [DVD] (DVD)
This is probably the finest account of the life of Rasputin made to date. The 'mad monk' is brought eerily to life by the consumate acting skills of Alan Rickman. The story is often touching and leaves the viewer feeling priviledged to have been transported to the depths and the pain of a tortured mind, and a glimpse of what can drive men to 'madness'.
Ian MacKellen is also superb, but as in many of his films Alan Rickman pulls out all the stops to lead powerfully in this award winning sumptuous production.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex, ambiguous, stunning, 2 Sep 2007
By 
Joanne Sheppard (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rasputin [DVD] (DVD)
This is a stunning film - it's almost hard to believe that it was made for television. It is a beautiful and fascinating evocation of pre-revolutionary Russia and so much more than a biopic.

Alan Rickman's performance in the title role is nothing short of incredible - he manages to convey all the mystery and ambiguity of Rasputin without ever letting his portrayal descend into caricature. Rickman's Rasputin is both simple and complex, sinister and charming, alluring and alienating, one minute a convincingly spiritual visionary, the next a determinedly physical drunken dissolute. Given that little is known about the real Rasputin beyond rumours and myths, this works extremely effectively on screen. Rickman portrays Rasputin with both exuberance and sadness, and rarely have I seen a historical figure portrayed with such astonishing charisma. The film is well worth watching for this alone.

However, the performances of Ian McKellen and Greta Scaachi as Nicholas and Alexandra, the last tsar and tsarina of Russia, are also strong and again, they are portrayed with a very effective ambiguity, so the viewer cannot quite decide whether one's sympathies lie with them or not. I felt contempt towards McKellen's character when he spoke of his 'love' for the very people who were starving to death under his rule and his god-given right to his life of obscene wealth and privilege, but still felt deeply sorry for him on the eve of the revolution.

The way in which the Russian royal family used and rejected Rasputin as they chose, and the degree to which their snobbish distaste for his peasant's table manners and drunken conversation affected their treatment of the man who saved their son's life on several occasions, are also thoroughly explored in the screenplay.

This film is not easy to obtain on DVD but I would urge you to try!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rasputin 1996, 23 Nov 2002
This review is from: Rasputin [VHS][1996] (VHS Tape)
if you know nothing about rasputin, this is the film to watch.
it got me hooked from the start. Rickman was divine, and the only man who could portray this complex man. scenery spectacular, and for a quick dip into russian culture this is the film, best one i've ever watched. all actors were wonderful, and only alan rickman could have played this part so well.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 7 Jan 2004
This review is from: Rasputin [VHS][1996] (VHS Tape)
I have always been fascinated with the story of Rasputin and was looking forward to seeing the film. I was not disappointed. You are shown the events that took place by Alexis, the youngest of the Tsar (which is basically king) Nicholas and Alexandra of Russia's children. He was born with heamophilia and his desperate parents are put in contact with Rasputin who claims he has had a vision of the virgin Mary and was sent to help.
I was glued open-mouthed to the screen. Alan Rickman is stunning in the lead. Ian Mckellan is also impressive. I urge everyone to watch this film, you will be shocked by the events that actually took place and stunned by the superb acting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars amazing, 19 Mar 2012
By 
A. Hussain "atticus" (essex uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rasputin [DVD] (DVD)
i always thought that alec guiness was the only actor,but here we have alan rickman,excellent movie what a terrific cast[even thought historically inaccurate]
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