Anton Chekhov's The Duel

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 37


Audience Score

User Ratings: 320
User image

Anton Chekhov's The Duel Photos

Movie Info

Save Shakespeare, Chekhov is the literary giant whose work is most frequently adapted for the screen. Based on his eponymous 1891 novella, THE DUEL gives life to a classic Chekhovian tale: the young ne'er-do-well aristocrat vs. the arrogant man of science; the attraction of a manipulative, narcissistic mistress vs. the life of the mind and of principled action. Gambling, alcohol and flirtations consummated in an impossibly beautiful countryside hold obvious attractions for Laevsky. But he's brought up short when financial ruin and his mistress's sexual dalliances lead to a violent denouement. Dover Kosashvili, director of LATE MARRIAGE, assembles a brilliant ensemble cast of British actors who strike just the right balance between intrigue and that particularly Russian brand of ennui we associate with Chekhov -- but which today might elicit a prescription for Celexa. -- (C) Film Forum

Watch it now


Andrew Scott
as Laevsky
Tobias Menzies
as Von Koren
Niall Buggy
as Samoylenko
Nicolas Rowe
as Sheshkovsky
Nicholas Rowe
as Sheshkovsky
Rik Makarem
as Atchmianov
Simon Trinder
as Postal Superintendent
Graham Turner
as Atchmianov Senior
Alistair Cameron
as Ustimovitch
Alan Katic
as Officer 2
Tvrtko Juric
as Mustapha
Tomislav Kozic
as Govorosky
Geraldine O'Rawe
as Ilyana's Mother
Maya Kosashvili
as Woman with Baby
Medea Kosashvili
as Woman with Baby
Juliana Overmeer
as Lady with Lapdog
Douglas Ellis
as Promenading Family
Mary Bing
as Promenading Family
Lucy Grace Ellis
as Promenading Family
Anton Ellis
as Promenading Family
Neven Jercel
as Tatar Horseman/Mountaineer
Mladen Vulic
as Kerbalay
Franka Gulin
as Blind Masseuse
Dubravko Vusak
as Organ Grinder
Dubravko Vusac
as Organ Grinder
Tea Matanovic
as Lovely Young Woman
Marijana Mikulic
as Lovely Young Woman
View All

Critic Reviews for Anton Chekhov's The Duel

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (7)

  • You want bite. But the movie's teeth are locked behind the dramatic equivalent of a retainer.

    Oct 14, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Much of what is spelled out in the book is artfully condensed for the film, which was shot in Croatia and is pretty enough to double as a tourist lure.

    Sep 9, 2010 | Rating: 3/4
  • It somehow isn't as exciting as a duel over a woman should be. If you're not well rested before entering the theater, it could put you under.

    Aug 19, 2010 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Chekhov's stories and plays often vibrate in that zone where comedy and tragedy are indistinguishable. And so it is with this movie.

    Aug 2, 2010 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • If you see this movie, it will give you more pleasure and more to think about than any of the more popular entries currently out there.

    Jul 22, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The setting of the title event is spectacular, and the photography is wonderful. In places the movie seems as lazy as Laevsky. But Chekhov's story provides a lot to chew on.

    Jun 25, 2010 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Anton Chekhov's The Duel

  • Jun 19, 2012
    An aristocrat who questions his relationship with a married woman incites the ire of a scientist in the Russian countryside. Everything worth loving about Chekhov - the subtlety, the well-drawn characters, the crises of conscience - is here and filmed beautifully. I especially liked the performance by Andrew Scott as Vanya who performs a scene that is described in the script as "hysterics," but I think the best phrase is an "existential paroxysm." <i>The Duel</i> is a film built on subtext, and it takes a sharp, discerning eye to appreciate why the characters behave as they do, each action sharply motivated. I thought that the subplot of Vanya's financial difficulties was never resolved, but I suspect that an apologia for this film would suggest that larger existential issues over-weighed money; it's true, but a commitment to solving all his problems would not have been hard to show. Overall, Anton Chekhov is one of world literature's great writers, and <i>The Duel</i> displays all the great aspects of his work.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Jun 17, 2012
    A Russian tale that takes a fleeting look at the human condition, accomplished with smart production values, as a dissolute clerk and a fastidious budding scientist disagree about life itself and how it should be lived. Of course there is a confused woman between them. Not bad at all.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • May 27, 2012
    As Laevsky(Andrew Scott, of "Sherlock") confides to his friend Samoylenko(Niall Buggy), he no longer loves his lover Nadia(Fiona Glascott), a spendthrift. What truly frightens Laevsky is that he has a letter in his possession that tells him that Nadia's husband is now dead, of which she is unaware. And once she is aware, it is a one way trip to the altar. For this and other reasons, Von Koren(Tobias Menzies) does not like Laevsky, feeling that in his day affairs were conducted entirely in private. Plus, Laevsky outdoes himself when it comes to sloth and indolence. With its deliberate pace and excellent cinematography, "The Duel" is an evocative movie that bottles one point in time, allowing us to observe it at our leisure. But then time is never entirely static as the people along with the social mores of the era are evolving however slowly. Also this serves as a valuable reminder that lovers and spouses are two separate categories of people but that does not mean they cannot be loved in the same ways. And who knew a movie based on a work by Anton Chekhov could be so darn sexy?
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 18, 2010
    Cast: Andrew Scott, Fiona Glascott, Tobias Menzies, Niall Buggy, Nicholas Rowe, Michelle Fairley, Debbie Chazen, Graham Turner, Jeremy Swift Director: Dover Koshashvili Summary: Chekhov's psychological insights and piercing humor illuminate the screen in this beautifully filmed drama about Laevsky (Andrew Scott), a narcissistic civil servant whose impetuous decision to leave his married mistress, Nadya (Fiona Glascott), sparks shocking reverberations. Pragmatic scientist Von Koren (Tobias Menzies), outraged by Laevsky's thoughtlessness, challenges him to a duel, and the trio's emotional entanglements overwhelm them. My Thoughts: "Laevsky is very self loathing and seems to be dealing, or I should say not dealing, with his personal demons and his many regrets. He has turned to gambling and alcohol to help him cope with Nadya, his mistress, a married woman. 'The Duel', is such a small part of the film that when it is brought to light is when you remember that is the title of the film. I think this is one of those films that is better on paper then on screen. It just didn't flow very well and some parts where never explained. I guess reading the book before watching the film would help better explain some of the scenes in the film. The movie was funny in some parts and wasn't completely a bore. I enjoyed the scenery in the film and great costumes. But the story just didn't do it for me."

Anton Chekhov's The Duel Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features