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Fiercely independent British filmmaker Bernard Rose and his charismatic lead Danny Huston have formed quite a double-act, and this wintry parable marks the third time they’ve modernised stories by Leo Tolstoy. After their films Ivansxtc. and The Kreutzer Sonata, comes this latest adaptation (from the great Russian’s Master and Man), with Huston firing on all cylinders as a cash-poor property developer scouting round the outskirts of Denver for repossessed houses at a propitious rate.
Driving him about is roly-poly English expat chauffeur Nick (Matthew Jacobs), somewhat frayed after a disintegrating marriage, who still maintains a caring and compassionate outlook in life in marked contrast to his unrepentant capitalist of a passenger. As the chit-chat goes back and forth, a division in values emerges, and the weather turns ominous the further they head out of town. The imposing scenery lends a telling scale to this absorbing two-hander delivered with immersive intimacy by Rose’s ever-attentive camera, and Tolstoy’s insights remain truly timeless. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)
The previous instalments in Bernard Rose’s ‘Tolstoy Trilogy’, Ivansxtc. and The Kreutzer Sonata will screen at 14.00 on December 22nd and 23rd, respectively.