Agony: The Life and Death of Rasputin (Klimov, 1981)

Agony: The Life and Death of Rasputin (Elem Klimov, 1981)

What a crazy movie. Klimov uses a mix of biopic drama and historical footage to illustrate the life and times of the famous Rasputin. I have to say I knew little about Rasputin going into this movie, so this could be completely historically inaccurate for all I know. Regardless, Aleksei Petrenko give a fantastic performance as Rasputin as he depicts insanity and a calm sense of control all in one. His performance is nearly Klaus Kinski-esque ala Aguirre.

The film fails with its historical footage. I understand the purpose of the film was to illustrate a certain time in Russian history, but I think the historical events important to Rasputin’s life could have somehow been incorporated into the fiction portions of the film. Also, every time a new character was introduced, text appeared on the screen with the character’s name and description – an absolutely terrible decision. Anyway, the film is great when focused on the craziness of Rasputin. Other sections are average.  7.5/10

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