Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Last Station (2009)

A historical drama that illustrates Russian author Leo Tolstoy's struggle to balance fame and wealth with his commitment to a life devoid of material things. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 Oscars:

Best Actress: Helen Mirren
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer

I had few expectations about this film and for me it didn't shine or surprise me in any way. It's an empty film and I hardly enjoyed the presence of some of the actors. To start with the best: Christopher Plummer gives a very good, warm, believable performance. That scene in the forest is truly remarkable and it really is an Oscar worthy performance.
Dame Helen is ok, but nothing more for me, because I couldn't connect to her character and the screenplay doesn't do her much justice, except setting some traps of broken dishes and throwing herself into the pond. But even mediocre Helen Mirren is better then others' best. As much as I love Atonement, it's not because of James McAvoy (but it is his best performace) and I must admit I find him distracting in a film. He has the leading role here and... well... I'm subjective in the sense that his face and screen persona tell me nothing. It almost irritates me seeing him in this film, especially in combination with another actor I respect but who annoys the sh*t out of me: Paul Giamatti.
The screenplay is mediocre, trying to balance between something artsy for a chosen audience and regular ass drama with no true direction or enjoyable plot. I didn't care about the characters, just about Christopher Plummer. Even so, it's suprising that Oscar voters actually saw this film, with no release date back then and everything...
My rating for the film: 4/10. For someone not encounting issues with McAvoy and Giamatti, it's probably a 6-7.


  1. The actresses will probably turn out as:
    1. Mulligan
    2. Sidibe
    3. Streep
    4. Bullock
    5. Mirren

    Really excited to read about Mirren!

  2. Just for some extra mentioning. It's not that I think James McAvoy gives a baaaaad performance in this (or in Last King of Scotland or Atonement), it's just that I personally subjectively don't like him and the type of role he's being cast in over and over again

  3. I liked this movie, but in the same way I liked Robin Hood. Neither were terrible, but you could easily do your laundry as they play in the background. Mirren's nomination staggers me. She was great fun, but I can't believe people put it in a Number One slot (for no one can be nominated without getting that slot). I mean...Abbie Cornish, anyone?

  4. well, you know the Number One is complicated...

    It could've been enough if she herself would've placed her name as Number One.

    IF let's say Meryl Streep got 75% of Number Ones, the Academy has the rule of redistributing those ballots. They don't all go to Meryl! So they save Meryl as a nominee and then they check again THOSE ballots (not all, I think, maybe just a percentage of them. i dunno).

    So, it was enough for Helen Mirren to have...
    10 Number Ones let's say
    and 2000 Number 2 (if number 1 on that ballot was someone who qualified from the 1st round).

    This happened obviously in Best Supporting Actor and Supp. Actress this year. Mo'Nique probably had 70-80% of Number Ones, so they had to redistribute. And it created that big gap between Mo'Nique and the other 4.