The Last Station
Just because a film is about Russian writer Leo Tolstoy doesn’t mean that it’s literate or classy. Centering on the War and Peace author’s last days on his country estate, Michael Hoffman’s The Last Station is corset-laced Oscar chum. Christopher Plummer does credible work as Tolstoy, a moneyed noble who dresses in rags and rails against private property. The same can’t be said for Helen Mirren as Tolstoy’s devoted but disapproving wife Countess Sofya—she gives a broad and blustery performance more suitable to Judi Dench—or Dame Edna. As “Tolstoian” devotee Valentin, James McAvoy is only around to bluntly deliver plot points and act stupider than he seems. Best/worst of all is Paul Giamatti’s cartoon villainy as Vladimir Chertkov—you know he’s evil because he’s the only Russian who speaks with a Russian accent, but he twirls his mustache for emphasis.