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August 14, 2006

Doctor Zhivago - 5

I thought I was going to like this a lot more, being one of the great epics. David Lean's track record is good -Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge over the River Kwai. But besides the Russian history lesson, I found the plot rather weak. The film also plays cheap homage to Citizen Kane, with the Russian stringed instrument at the beginning and end of the film (that's the best I could do, does anyone know what its called?). The story hinges on an affair that is with so little feeling it really isn't believable, the tragedy of it is missed to me. Omar Sharif doesn't put much feeling into his part, had he it would have made a better film. Beautiful cinematography, but an overrated classic in my mind.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Indeed, I haven't watched this since I was eighteen, but my impression of it was that the cinematography was the film's best feature.

The emotion was so understated, and almost passive, that I held onto the images and transposed the lyrical beauty of the shots onto the characters. But an audience shouldn't have to do that.

Lean's "Brief Encounter" (which looks to be the only other Lean that I've seen) is a far more intimate film about infidelity, loss, and family, but you still might feel underwhelmed by it's emotion. I go back and forth on the merits of that one.