That Night In Varennes Review

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In June of 1791, a group of passengers in a stagecoach find themselves caught up in the events of the French Revolution


Ettore Scola’s rousing romp places a set of travellers, including an ageing Casanova (Marcello Mastroianni), writer Restif de la Bretonne (Jean-Louis Barrault) and American revolutionary Tom Paine (a badly dubbed Harvey Keitel), in a stage pursuing the fleeing Louis XVI in the revolutionary summer of 1791, and leaves to simmer. Bawdy banter and political debate flow in vivacious fashion while the wider historical drama being played out ahead of the travelling party is relayed at every staging post until they catch up with the loyal party at Varennes and witness the final moments of Louis’ reign. Despite clocking in at a walloping 2 hours 30 minutes, the commanding cast, sumptuous historical detail and sparkling dialogue, all directed with a stylish swagger ensure an enthralling cinematic experience.

Precisely constructed epic.