Last Station, The

Featured In Issue 149, July/August/September 2010

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Sony Pictures Classics
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A scene of sexuality/nudity
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Michael Hoffman
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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Based on the novel by Jay Parini, "The Last Station" recounts the drama of a final year in the life of the great Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy. It is a true story, both dramatic and humorous, that covers the themes of passion, love, family, greed, intrigue, conflict, and revolution. Having renounced his title and property, Tolstoy (Plummer) makes plans to donate his royalties to the Russian people, supported by his trusted disciple Chertkov (Giamatti). Tolstoy's outraged wife (Mirren) wages a one-woman war to challenge her husband's extreme act of idealism. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Actors Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren, commentary with Director Michael Hoffman, an interview with Plummer entitled "A Tribute To Christopher Plummer" (HD 02:05), the featurette "The Missed Station" (SD 07:42), seven deleted scenes (SD 12:29), the theatrical trailer, up-front previews, and BD-Live functioinality.

The 1080p AVC picture is an artistic cinematic stylization of Czar Russia, with enhanced hues of yellow and brown to suggest a dated period. Fleshtone hues are pallish sepia in tone. Colors are never richly or vividly depicted, and yet outdoor scenes at times appear natural. While details can be a little too soft in the background, close-ups of facial features and object texture are nicely revealing. Dimensional perspective is well executed. Shadow delineation is still slightly off balance, but perhaps intended, given the warmly filtered visual character and candle-lit production design. The picture effectively conveys a dated 19th Century Moscow environs for a wonderful cinematic experience. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack has a broad and deep front stage, with surround envelopment that at times characterizes a lively forestry estate environment, with lots of birds and atmospheric sound effects, both suptle and aggressive. The orchestral music score is nicely recorded, with a wide and deep soundstage that aggressively envelops the surrounds. The effects of the various rooms' acoustics are delivered well, using each of the full-range channels, and dialogue is generally recorded well with at times good spatial integration, but otherwise forward-sounding ADR that is wanting in natural spatial releationships. A highlight are the numerous train sounds and their rumbles reproduced in the .1 LFE channel at intense, yet natural-sounding deep bass levels. The soundtrack is enjoyable, and at times provides impressive holosonic® surround envelopment. (Gary Reber)