: : : Doctor Zhivago (TV Miniseries)

Story

The miniseries treatment is suited to Doctor Zhivago, the sprawling Boris Pasternak novel of a Russian physician-poet whose comfortable life is upended by the Revolution. And this near-four-hour British production lucidly demonstrates that Pasternak was one heck of a storyteller: the torment of Zhivago (Hans Matheson) as he must choose between his well-bred childhood sweetheart (Alexandra Maria Lara, real comer) and the tragically beautiful Lara (Keira Knightley, from Pirates of the Caribbean) remains compelling. The TV treatment can't match the epic sweep of David Lean's feature film, of course, with its cast of thousands and astonishing production design. Devotees of that 1965 version will undoubtedly yearn for Maurice Jarre's tinkly hit "Lara's Theme," too; here, Ludovico Einaudi's score is serviceable by comparison. Matheson never gets untracked in the title role, but the uncannily gorgeous Knightley and a supremely decadent Sam Neill (as her dreadful seducer) keep their characters vital. The limitations of the small screen duly noted, the frosty location shooting is handsome. Given the choice, see the Lean film on the big screen every time; but this is sturdy introduction to a classic story. --Robert Horton

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen

Cast

Sam Neill
Chulpan Khamatova
Keira Knightley
Hans Matheson
Oleg Menshikov

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