Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Michael Jayston
Janet Suzman
Roderic Noble
Ania Marson
Tom Baker.
Directors
Franklin J Schaffner.
Screenwriters
James Goldman
Edward Bond.
Running Time
183 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Honeymoon
3 Star Empire Rating
Last Impresario, The
3 Star Empire Rating
I Origins
4 Star Empire Rating
Soul Boys Of The Western World
4 Star Empire Rating
What We Did On Our Holiday
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Nicholas and Alexandra
An evening in the Winter Palace with Tom Baker's mad Rasputin doesn't sound so cosy when there are ten thousand Bolsheviks breaking down the front door.


submit to reddit


Plot
Tsar Nicholas II of Russia is so devoted to his capricious wife Alexandra that he allows her to sway the conduct of domestic and foreign policy, with the result that both Rasputin (Tom Baker) and Lenin (Michael Bryant) are able to exploit their weakness and incongruity.


Review

Having respectively won Oscars for Lawrence of Arabia and Patton, producer Sam Spiegel and director Franklin J. Schaffner were no strangers to historical epics. Yet, they got the tone of this lavish biopic of the last Tsar so wrong that a fascinating subject was reduced to costumed soap opera. Working from the bestseller by Robert K. Massie, screenwriters James Goldman and Edward Bond not only tried to pack too much detail into 183 minutes, but they also saddled the cast with reams of magniloquent dialogue that veered from the trite to the mawkish and bombastic.

    However, the film's greatest fault was its bid to turn an inept ruler and his headstrong wife into tragic victims of domestic strife and the machinations of ruthless opportunists. Nicky and Alex are presented as a devoted couple who would have enjoyed an idyllic existence if they hadn't been burdened with the responsibilities of power and the strain of coping with a haemophiliac son.

    But such an approach ridiculously diminishes the role they played in the deaths of millions of their subjects between 1894 and 1917 and the splendid BBC series Fall of Eagles came much closer to capturing Nicholas's Hamlet-like genius for indecision and the prejudicial snobbery of his German spouse, whose insistence on this weak man ruling as an autocrat consigned his fond family to their doom.

     Michael Jayston and Janet Suzman struggle to cut through the script's deferential attitude to create credible characters, while the complex agendas of Tom Baker's Rasputin, Michael Bryant's Lenin and Brian Cox's Trotsky are depreciated into accessible clichés. The film deservedly won Oscars for its costumes and the ingenious art direction that Russified the Spanish and Yugoslav locations. But the wilfull focus on a sentimentalised love story rather than the reign's momentous political and military events makes this a dull record of a compelling period.

 


Verdict
A lengthy, visually impressive period piece with little in the way of new material or fresh spins on history to distinguish it.


Reviewed by David Parkinson

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Nicholas and Alexandra
Empire Star Rating

Historically, the film is generally accuarate and, probably sensibly, focuses on the Tsar and his family rather than trying to fit the whole spectacle of the Russian revolutions into the three hours. However, the portrayal of the Romanov family is quite sympathetic and unrealistic in the film. Often static, but with some memorable scenes and a noticable performance from Tom Baker. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cameraman at 19:16, 02 September 2006 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: The Streaming Services Will Be Major Studios
(Or how Hollywood will have to start worrying about Netflix)

The Empire Podcast #129: Liam Neeson Interview
Plus Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown Findlay drop by to talk The Riot Club

The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)