Extollager | Mayville, ND United States | 02/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Read the book -- but this _is_ a superb miniseries. John Hurt is a little older than is ideal for the role of the student Raskolnikov, but otherwise is a fantastic choice for the part. The story is absorbing and thought-provoking, and, at least in the marvelous scene in which Raskolnikov taunts a police inspector --- funny! Crime and Punishment was preceded by an adaptation of Dostoevsky's The Possessed. I hope that will become available."
Crime & punishment
H. Davies | 02/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Superb acting and script. Recent adaptations seem afraid to include original dialogue at any length- this gave us so much that was gripping and character-revealing. I wish all past BBC miniseries were available. Brilliant!"
Know what you are buying!
Patrick W. Crabtree | Lucasville, OH USA | 08/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here we have a very excellent mini-series, all-inclusive, three episodes on one DVD (225 minutes total running time), of Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment". This movie is simply terrific and, by having twice read the book (two different translations), I can say that this film is totally true to its origin, with just a few of the less notable scenes omitted which is what one would reasonably expect.
Now, the reason for my cautionary title is that "Crime and Punishment" is a story about the extreme misery of the Russian people, and to put this theme into historical perspective, it transpires during the era in which the U.S. Civil War was just reaching a conclusion. To summarize the Russian social environment of that same period, serfdom had just been reluctantly abolished (1863) but it actually continued on in pocket regions for a time. And times for the masses were incredibly difficult in the larger Russian cities such as St. Petersburg which is where this story mostly transpires. Large portions of the population were starving, alcoholism was rampant, and revolution was in the air, (this finally came to a head in 1905 and, successfully for the Bolsheviks [Communists] in 1917 but those two events are not directly a facet of this particular story.)
So what I'm telling you is that this tale is mostly one of extreme misery and is largely responsible for the egregious myth that ALL Russian literature is equally gloomy, (a myth which can be immediately dispelled by reading The Inspector-General, Dead Souls: A Novel, Oblomov, etc.) But "Crime and Punishment" is pretty depressing which is actually why it's such a great life story. So if you cannot endure such films, you'd best skip this one because in addition to all the gloom, this mini-series is quite lengthy so there's a lot of it!
THE STORY: Briefly, Raskolnikov is a rather contumacious, off-and-on Russian student who faces multiple problems: his personal ethics are grossly distorted; he has no money, and; he is emotionally and physically ill.
Almost at once, while raising a few kopecks by way of pawning some personal trinkets, he has an encounter with a spiteful and venomous old woman, the local pawnbroker who continually takes an abhorrently unfair advantage of everyone with whom she does business. This dreadful old hag also has a half-sister living with her, a girl of very limited intelligence whom she psychologically abuses.
It's no spoiler to say that, based upon his personal philosophies about the value of various people's lives, Raskolnikov murders the old woman with a hatchet to the forehead. But unfortunately the half-sister makes an unexpected appearance during the murder and he makes the hasty decision to kill her as well, an actuality which begins to haunt him from the moment he commits the act.
The entire remainder of the story is based upon this horrific act of violence, albeit there are some sub-plots, all of which heap even more burdensome stresses upon Raskolnikov. One of these side trips involves an older man by the name of Marmeladov. This venerable fellow would be a fine man were it not for his extreme and endless drunkenness which has resulted in the ruination of his entire family. In fact, his alcoholism has driven his own daughter to become a prostitute, a blameless girl with whom Raskolnikov falls in love.
Finally, the highlight of the story involves the local police inspector, a man by the name of Porfiry, who epitomizes the "Columbo" of the Russian police! His mild and indirect (but irritating) manner of interrogation drives Raskolnikov to extreme emotional reactions and Porfiry's character adds as much to the film as it does to Raskolnikov's mental burden. It's just short of comic relief.
I will have to stop at this point to avoid any major spoilers but, rest assured, this is a complex tale which is well-told via this marvelous mini-series. John Hurt plays Raskonikov and he's perfect in this role. The film is in color, the scenes and sets are nothing short of excellent, and the aspect ratio is full-frame. This last feature is the only item I'm curious about -- the packaging states "full-screen version" which conveys to me that there might actually exist a widescreen version, which I would very much love to view! The mini-series was directed by Michael Darlow and, of course, this is a BBC Production so all the actors are British and thus one should not expect to hear Russian accents.
Highly recommended for appropriate audiences.
(See my numerous Amazon Listmania lists for more Russian film and literature recommendations.)"
Guilt, the best punishment for crime
Esperanza Reynolds | Miami Lakes, Florida | 11/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote a masterpiece when he published Crime and Punishment. The book demonstrates an incredible understanding of human nature.
Crime and Punishment surfaces the mental anguish and moral dilema of a highly intelligent man by the name of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov. He is poor, a former student living in St. Petersburg, who, in search for a change of luck, develops a plan to kill a usurous pawnbroker who is hated by the whole town.
He expects to change his luck by obtaining the great fortune she has been accumulating under her bed from the pain and troubles of those who had no choice but to pawn their possessions.
The book details conflicting human emotions of pride, hatred, envy, shame, guilt and redemption. The plot is set in 19th-century Russia and the characters for the most part are from the working class.
We took the opportunity to see the series with young adults and we were delighted to see how they learned from understanding the consequences of actions that can and will change the lives of those who execute something as horrible as murder."