Understated Drama with Outstanding Performances
J. Fryer | Nicholasville, KY | 08/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I keeping echoing over and over....I watched this presentation because I aspire to see every possible iota of work available by the outstanding actor, Alan Rickman.
Each time I view Rickman's work solely for that reason, I am rewarded with an outstanding piece of entertainment I would have otherwise missed. This Masterpiece Theater presentation of Emile Zola's acclaimed novel,'Therese Raquin', is one more gem in that growing list of eclectic, but always exceedingly high-quality, films that make up the body of Rickman's work.
This tragic drama of a simple household populated by complex characters quietly unfolds in a sparsely stated manner, completely divergent from the shocking passion and emotional turbulence bubbling and smoldering under the surface of this story of illicit love, its requisite deceit, and the tragic explosion of events which are born of its temptations.
Kate Nelligan (The Cider House Rules) in the title role reminded me of Tiny Louise in what I believe was Tina's debut role as another dallying daughter-in-law, Robert Ryan's in her case, Griselda, simmering with adulterous lust for Aldo Ray in 'God's Little Acre'. Brian Cox, as Laurent, Therese's passionate lover, bears little resemblance to his recurring role of Ward Abbott in the recent 'Bourne' films or even his smaller role as Doug Durwin in 'Minus Man'. Simply said, his Laurent is 'deadly sexual'. Kenneth Cranham was seemingly perfectly cast as Camille, Therese's doomed cuckold, and certainly far removed from the villainous hitman, Gibson, in Britain's 2001 film, 'Shiner'. English actress, Mona Washbourne, shines herself in her role as Madame Raquin, with whom Camille, her son, and his wife Therese reside, and over whose literal head Therese and Laurent shockingly cavort sexually, while in truth nothing about Therese goes over her mother-in-law's head, either before or after she becomes a helpless invalid left to the care of Therese.
Alan Rickman (Vidal) in his role as artist/friend is resplendent in curls and could be my friend any day. Alan always makes the most of his role, no matter how small. Vidal is absolutely no exception, showing all the talent, charm, and creativity Alan's dedicated fans would swoon over in the years following this early TV role.
Rickman fans must watch this early work of Alan to be able to truthfully say they 'could see his talent unfolding even then'. Lovers of drama and tragedy, love and lust, and a simple time-old story very well told will love this TV series dubbed by the "DAILY EXPRESS" to be 'One of the best serials ever seen on TV....electrifying'. They were not exaggerating by even one volt."
Will make you put Kevorkian on speed dial.......
retroredux | 04/07/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"like the other reviewer, I hunted up this DVD as I try to see everything that actor Alan Rickman has been in. Unlike the other reviewer, even Alan could not save this angst ridden foray into melancholy, morose scenery, and melodramatic acting.
First off, Rickman fans be forewarned-in the entire 3 part series, Alan is seen in about ten minutes of time. Even with that, I would have been happy to see the always wonderful work of Brian Cox and Kate Nelligan.
For the most part the acting WAS above par, but the storyline seemed to bring out high drama in both leads-to the point of laughability. The story itself is one of these dark, maudlin "classics" that we're all supposed to "get", and if not then we must be plebeian. Well, just call me plebe, because watching this was like pulling teeth without anesthetic. By the end, I did not care WHAT happened to Therese or Laurent. They were frankly despicable people who selfishness and depravity were bile raising.
I adore period dramas but I'd rather be hit repeatedly with this DVD than have to watch it again.