Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
USA, 1997. Icon Entertainment International, Icon Productions, Studio Trite, Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Bernard Rose, based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy. Cinematography by Daryn Okada. Produced by Bruce Davey. Music by John Stronach,Georg Solti. Production Design by John Myhre. Costume Design by Maurizio Millenotti. Film Editing by Victor Du Bois.
Relentlessly boring adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic weepie has Sophie Marceau giving a two-dimensional performance as the classic heroine who throws all her privilege over for love with a sexy soldier. Married to codgery old James Fox, Marceau finds solace and renewed passion in the arms of military man Sean Bean, and much to the chagrin of royal Russian society, openly has an affair with him followed by plans to abandon her husband. Trouble is, she and her legal spouse have a child together, and her cuckolded husband will stop at nothing to use the child against her. Things get seriously depressing and take their bloody time doing it, but the least director Bernard Rose could do would be to make it more emotionally involving. As it is, the characters all come off as wimps, and even the period art direction and costume design look as if they’ve been borrowed from a better movie. On top of this, Rose has added a ridiculous subplot involving Tolstoy himself and his new involvement in the story (I mean beyond the fact that he actually wrote it), a plotline that is completely incongruous and at times confusing.