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The writings of Leo Tolstoy have given British director Bernard Rose rich material in the past, particularly
The Death of Ivan Ilych
, which, ingeniously appended to the life of a venal Hollywood agent, became
in 1999. This adaptation of Tolstoy's story
Master and Man
is a far more avant-garde affair, starring Rose's regular collaborator Danny Huston as a ruthless California property developer named Basil. On Boxing Day, having heard of property foreclosures in Colorado, Basil abandons his wife and family to hunt greedily for bargains. He's taken on his quest by local taxi driver Nick (Matthew Jacobs), a man whose world is slowly falling apart around him. The wintry journey through ice and snow, intertwined with snatched insights into both men's unhappy home lives and psyches, suggests that little good can come of this, but any such portentous tension soon fades. Huston, as ever, does the devil's work to perfection, but, with no one to like - let alone root for - this soon becomes a very long and tiresome slog indeed.
Cast & Crew
21 Dec 2012
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