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Customer Review

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie with no flaws, 18 Jan. 2004
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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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Aug 2013, 14:11:27 BST
N.N. says:
This is such a stellar, and very honest review. Bravo.
it is a relief to read a positive opinion.
Thank you for taking the time to write it down.
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