Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Last Station

This is about the events leading up to the 82 year old Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer looking older than dirt) deserting his wife (Helen Mirren) and wealth to start a new life of asceticism. Tolstoy has a complicated brilliance- he begins as an author of very popular literature and becomes involved in pacifism and non-violence. Over time, he becomes something of a hypocrite as he preaches against wealth, but lives as a rich man-which causes him intense guilt. Yet, he is a Christ figure to his followers. They are devoted to him. With time, his wife becomes aware of the dangers of having an idol as a husband. Mirren plays Sophia Tolstoy as a hysteric- but with good cause. Someone IS trying to take her family's fortune away. James McAvoy plays Tolstoy's secretary, Bulgakov. As usual, he is incredibly good. Paul Giammati plays Chertkov, the leader of the Tolstoyans. The cast is so good that the poor editing in the film is barely noticeable. But not quite. There are a couple of scenes that seem to come out of nowhere- as if a logical transition would have been impossible. It's emphasis on the hysterical Mirren seems to go on too long. We GET it. But it is certainly worth a trip to the movies-if for no other reason than to see something about a man who influenced people like Martin Luther King on the value of non-violent resistance. I didn't know what to expect when I bought my ticket, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Plan to stay through the final credits since original film of Tolstoy is shown.