Mary Poppins Returns
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
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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.
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.
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.
Chekhov's stories and plays often vibrate in that zone where comedy and tragedy are indistinguishable. And so it is with this movie.
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.
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.
...perhaps most impressively, Kosashvili gets the delicate falling ending of short fiction that is so hard to achieve on screen.
Irish actor Andrew Scott is excellent as the deceitful, snivelling scoundrel whose habit of taking advantage of the good graces of others hits its limit.
It's a strange but compelling story in which indolence and dissolution are confronted in a life or death moment.
A lush and loyal adaptation of Chekhov's novella, which nails the atmosphere and features brilliant performance all round.
It would be easy to say that the film was undone by its obviously minuscule budget, reflected in daft costume and art direction, but when the basics of good storytelling are missing, it's far easier to be nit-picky.
Once you get used to this distraction [of the English cast in 19th century Russian setting] the handsome production takes on its own sensibilities
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." The Duel 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 The Duel displays all the great aspects of his work.
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.
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?
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."
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