Thursday, May 18, 2006

Patrick Dempsey, Ben Kingsley, Julie Delphy


I have to admit I've never been patient enough to read Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. But I've always been intrigued by those really thick and long Russian novels which depict an era deeply rooted with historical facts. So upon seeing this TV film adaptation, I promptly bought it to add to my film collection.
The story is about a young Bolshevik (those who opposed the Tsar) named Rodyo Raskolnikov who believes he is an extraordinary person, even having the audacity to compare himself to the great Napoleon. His point comes into play when he plots to murder an old woman who is a money lender. Since no one witnesses the gruesome act, he feels he is above suspicion and can get away after committing the crime. He is then put in several situations where his guilt slowly eats up his conscience until he feels the need to confess to the crime to purge himself of his sins. I believe Dostoevsky devoted many pages in the book dealing with the inner turmoil of his central character coming to terms with what he has done. Sadly though, the movie wasn't powerful enough to convey these conflicts that Raskolnikov went through. Even though it stars three talented actors, Ben Kingsley, Patrick Dempsey and Julie Delphy, there was nothing they could do to salvage the lousy script to make the film worth watching. I suppose any director would think twice about putting into film this vastly complicated book. The novel focuses on the inner struggles of a very well developed character such as Raskolnikov who is one of the best characters created in the literary world. He deals with numerous emotions from guilt, arrogance, pride to humility. I'm pretty sure they could have presented it much better. Perhaps with a much bigger budget who knows? It was pretty obvious the film's quality was rather grainy. They hired mostly actors who didn't speak much English, while those who did spoke with a Russian accent. This movie in its failure to convey the powerful essence of this great novel almost makes me want to read the book. Alas, I figure it will take me forever to finish because I'm pretty much a slower reader and I don't have the luxury of time.

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