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Staged with a monumental grandeur that undermines his trademark intimacy, Nikita Mikhalkov's Tsarist epic suffers fatally from its thematic imprecision, uncertainty of tone and excessive length. The evident lack of spark between American gentlewoman Julia Ormond and soldier Oleg Menshikov further strains the credibility of this long-cherished project, which inexplicably lurches from broad comedy to barnstorming melodrama partway through. Thanks to Pavel Lebeshev's glorious photography, the evocation of the 1880s is impeccable. However, with forestry inventor Richard Harris and bashful general Alexei Petrenko too often sidelined, what should have been an enchanting saga becomes a test of endurance.
|Jane Callahan||Julia Ormond|
|Douglas McCracken||Richard Harris|
|Andre Tolstoy||Oleg Menshikov|
|General Radlov||Alexei Petrenko|