Anton Chekhov's The Duel
- Director:Dover Kosashvili
- Cast:Michelle Fairley, Tobias Menzies, Andrew Scott
- Release Date:June 07, 2012
- Running time:94 minutes
- Film Worth:$17.00
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A lush and loyal adaptation of Chekhov’s novella, which nails the atmosphere and features brilliant performance all round.
Set against the stunning backdrop of The Black Sea before the turn of the last century, Anton Chekhov's The Duel follows the dwindling relations between young lovers, Laevsky (Andrew Scott) and Nadya (Fiona Glascott). Laevsky, a destitute Russian aristocrat, seduced Nadya away from her husband, only to fall out of love with her when their provincial life proves tedious. A neglected Nadya seeks to amuse herself, procuring French couture through trysts with suitors. While enjoying the chase, she is oblivious to the chaste teachings of Marya (Game Of Thrones' Michelle Fairley). When Laevsky receives word that Nadya's husband has died, he keeps the news from her, afraid of the obligation to get married. His lay-about drinking, gambling and attempts to abandon his mistress distress Von Koren (Rome's Tobias Menzies), a zoologist with the pseudo-Darwinian perspective that society would be fittest without Laevsky's survival.
A loyal adaptation of Chekhov's novella, this proves that he is one of the few writers (bar Shakespeare and Austen) who can still have their work produced faithfully. The language and the languishing of the characters are relatable because it is a period piece. The actors play their parts so well that they exceed the ivory tower stereotypes of pre-Bolshevik revolution Russia. Laevsky's slovenliness is redeemed by his charm and awakening from complacency. Nadya's bored yet bubbly mistress longs to be a lady, and Von Koren's social Darwinism seeks others to meet the expectations that he places upon himself to be a man of honour. Chekhov's subtle air of absurdity is present, and coupled with the atmosphere created by the score and sumptuous cinematography, it bodes that something is looming in an "end is nigh" way. Whether it is the inevitable pistol duel between Laevsky and Von Koren, or an end to the golden era Russia is left to the audience.