‘War And Peace’ Episode 4 | TV Review
War & Peace, first a popular book written in 1869 by Russian author Leo Tolstoy. This is the 2016 mini-series made up of six episodes. Following the previous three, rather unimpressive episodes, there was the hope that as War & Peace went on it would become a programme an audience could invest in. Unfortunately not, the pace is slow which is ironic seeing as years are jumped within 10 minutes in just one episode.
The problem ultimately lies in the fact that six episodes are not nearly enough to tell this story. In this sense this latest remake was doomed before it had even begun. The 1972 BBC 2 series was over 15 hours long, which is appropriate considering the length of the book. It would be unfair to say this latest mini-series is unenjoyable or bad television, however it does not have the depth and weight that recent period dramas have had.
One issue that has continued and will continue in War & Peace is the unlikeable nature of the main characters. Pierre, (Paul Dano) although by no means a villain is an extremely frustrating character to watch as an audience. He is naive, weak and easily manipulated; for a so called intellectual he possesses little intelligence in his personal life.
His character does develop in this particular episode and does Natasha (Lily James) a great service in saving her reputation. He is however incredibly infuriating to watch; a combination of the character itself, the dialogue and Dano’s performance. Overall performances are solid. Lily James and James Norton (Andrei Bolkonsky) carry each episode with their convincing portrayals of these complicated characters.
Jessie Buckley (Marya Bolkonskaya), Aisling Loftus (Sonya Rostova) have less screen time than some of the main characters, but manage to be better than the mini-series itself. Disappointing performances come from Jim Broadbent as Prince Nikolai Bolkonsky and Tom Burke as Fedya Dolokhov. Both actors are guilty of playing the same characters in other things, particularly Jim Broadbent who is good at playing Jim Broadbent.
This is an interesting watch, however if you are a fan of the book or the 1972 series, this will disappoint. It is a shame there are only six episodes, this is not enough time for an audience to emotionally invest in this complex story and its characters. “There are only two things in life that are really wrong: remorse and illness. When I’ve recovered from them both, I’ll go out in the world again”.
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