Reviewer: Shannon H.
Russian history has been rich, fascinating, and
sometimes questionable. It has had its good moments with
Peter the Great introducing Russia to Western society
and its bad moments with 72 years of Communism. Of
course, when one mentions Russian history who can forget
the Romanov dynasty, a royal family that ruled Russia
for over three centuries and ending in 1917 with the
Russian Revolution and the rise of Communism. The
Romanov family at the time was Tzar Nicholas II, his
wife Alexandra, and their five children. They were once
secure and powerful in their many palaces and homes but
when revolution erupted, they became mere citizens with
a grim future.
The objectionable content truly merits an R rating. The violence is moderate but the quality of it is quite disturbing. While Nicholas is attending an opera with his oldest daughter and some government officials, a lone assassin kills the prime minister with a single gunshot. The Romanov family meet their gruesome demise in a shootout by Communist thugs. Rasputin is shot at several times by Felix and his friends. There are old clips of Russian soldiers in battle during WWI, and some disturbing scenes that are not violent but do contain blood. Alexei is seen in bed a few times, twice with a nosebleed that won't go away. The sexual content is also moderate (most of it involves Rasputin; no surprise there). Nicholas and his wife are seen giving "love pecks" on each other's faces. Alexandra starts undoing her husband's shirt collar while he does the same with her robe (her bare shoulder is seen and the shot breaks away quickly. Nothing else happens but it is implied that they made love).
Rasputin is seen hanging out with a prostitute and later he is glimpsed in bed with her (we only see his bare chest and shoulders; the prostitute is wearing a corset and undergarments). Rasputin is also shown having sex with a close relative of Alexandra, leaving some witnesses to believe that he's sleeping with the Tzar's wife; both of them are clothed during the act. In a bar joking with friends, Rasputin drunkenly dances suggestively with one of the bar girls and in the same scene exposes himself to Felix Yusupov (who is angry at Rasputin's drunken antics). Fortunately, nothing is shown. This film is a much more accurate but objectionable version of Nicholas and Alexandra. It's shorter, too but I'd much rather sit and watch two full video cassettes of that mediocre 1971 period piece than Rasputin. I used to watch it a lot before I was saved. Now that I know better, I refuse to watch it anymore.
It's a good movie but it still needs work on the script and the dialogue. Spiritually speaking, it's a mess -- and that's an understatement. Rasputin's idea of salvation is contradictory with the Bible. Sinning only brings us further away from God and the only way to have a relationship with Him is to accept Christ. His hedonistic lifestyle only brings him further away from true, spiritual fulfillment. Nicholas and his family pray on a regular basis, which is good, but Alexandra believes that God punished her by giving her son Alexei hemophilia. This is not true. God does not punish people with disease and disasters anymore (that was back in the Old Testament) because of Christ's Resurrection and ascension into Heaven. I would not advise any Christian to see this. It's a great movie but is bogged down by excess sexual content. Plus, it also might "traumatize" any fans of the Harry Potter movies by seeing Professor Snape as a drunken lunatic.
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