A new doctor from Moscow arrives at a provincial mental institution. His interest is the peculiarities of the psyche of a patient who believes that he is Yakov Yurovsky, the man who assassinated the last Russian tsar. In the course of their conversations it transpires that the patient is a kind of philosopher, not without a gift for suggestion. In a while the doctor himself falls under his patient’s influence: he tends to relive that fatal night of June 16-17, 1918 when, without any investigation or trial, Tsar Nicholas II, who had recently abdicated, was murdered, together with his wife, daughters and incurably ill heir. Soon the doctor realizes that the tragedy of the last Russian tsar is in part his own tragedy, too...
Uploaded by: FREEMAN November 01, 2023 at 11:49 AM
ASSASSIN OF THE TSAR is riveting stuff and by far the best depiction of the murder of the Romanov aristocracy in 1918. The method is interesting; i.e., using the "recollections" of a modern schizophrenic who believes he was the original assassin (as well as the assassin of Nicholas' father in 1886). Some may be troubled by the seeming lack of explanation for the inmate's "fantasy" not to mention his treating doctor's descent into the same fantasy. This viewer was content with the suggestion of guilt and duty in modern Russia about the historical events which at a minimum are shameful and at worst a mindless snuff of heritage and culture. But I absolutely missed the significance of the "lost little girl". There is precious little written about this film. I'm just the fifth COMMENTER and only the second American. I'll either have to dig or, better, watch the work again!
Reviewed by Djole_J10 / 10
Intriguing plot, fine performances, highly recommended!
In my opinion very imaginative movie, nicely depicted psychological drama that introduced a lot of interesting data and unanswered questions from Russian history. Story of this movie is well balanced mixture of reality and main character's imagination, leaving a viewer a lot of space to separate one from the other at his own will. The plotline is smoothly and intelligently guided with interesting flashbacks, and clever dialogues. Though I would normally dislike the idea that famous British actor is hired for main role in completely Russian production, Malcolm McDowell was perfect choice for this character, and he made really great performance, fitting perfectly in the Russian surrounding. I highly recommend this movie.
Reviewed by deacon_blues-35 / 10
Sort of pointless, but with fine historical scenes
This is a film ostensibly about schizophrenia and it's treatment, but it is more about post- communist Russian guilt over the slaughter of the Romanov family.
A long-time mental patient who believes that he is the reincarnation of two Assassins (one of Tsar Alexander and the other of the Romanov family including Nicholas II) piques the interest of his new head psychiatrist. The new doctor decides to treat him by pretending that he himself is the reincarnation of Tsar Nicolas II. The crisis ensues when the same kind of physical auto-suggestion symptoms that the patient has been exhibiting begin to be exhibited by the doctor, resulting in the doctor's eventual actual death.
But the main interest comes in the recreation of the historical scenes of the Romanov assassinations and their aftermath.
Wonderful acting performances by Malcolm MacDowell as Timofeyev/Yurovsky and Oleg Yankovskiy as Dr. Smirnov/Tsar Nicholas II.
There is a lot of looming angst and guilt portrayed, aimed at giving the audience a sense of the collective psychological pathology of Russian society over the patricides of their Bolshevik revolution. Lots of Freudian baggage that I'm rather skeptical about the value of, personally.
I would have preferred a film on just the historical retelling of the events, but there is much admirable acting and atmosphere, notwithstanding.