A lot of traveling goes on in THE LAST STATION -- via choo-choo train, horseback and sometimes mere feet -- yet the characters never seem to get where they want to go. (Well, we are in Russia, after all.) Unfortunately the movie has the same problem.
Adapted (from the generally well-regarded novel by Jay Parini, unread by me) and directed by Michael
Hoffman (shown left), it tells the story of Leo Tolstoy's last days, as relatives and "disciples" fight over the right to his body of work (and eventually his body itself), watched over at all times by the press, ever eager to have another nibble of celebrity news to feed its slavering constituency. Sounds like fun, at the very least. And though Hoffman sets things up fairly well, the plodding and repetitious series of incidents he shows us, not to mention the lumbering dialog -- journeyman at best and often lacking the specificity and urgency of real life despite the efforts of a very good cast -- render this entire enterprise, well, stationary.
nately emoting is just about all that is called upon from the actress here, and it grows tiresome after a time.