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The White Countess back to product details

The Last of Merchant/Ivory
written by talltale June 4, 2006 - 8:22 PM PDT
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
Ralph Fiennes gives another of his fine performances in Merchant/Ivory's last collaboration THE WHITE COUNTESS, and he is supported by a top-notch cast, including--among more than a dozen terrific actors--Vanessa Redgrave, Madeline Potter, Hiroyuki Sanada and Lee Pace ("Soldier's Girl"). Never uninteresting, this story of the polyglot community of foreigners in Shanghai, including displaced Russian royalty, just prior to WWII is unusual and moving--though probably too slow-moving for many audiences.

The screenplay by Kazuo Ishiguro manages to include a lot of characters, events and back story, along with rather too much unbelievable exposition (the first scene with the Russian émigrés is chock-a-block with it) and his organization sometimes veers close to soap opera. Still, the story and performances command enough attention to carry us forward, and as ever with Merchant/Ivory, the locations, sets and cinematography (here, by the great Christopher Doyle) are enticing.

Though not top-level M/I, the film is quite good enough. This team will be sorely missed by many of us (Ismael Merchant died this past year), and it will be interesting to see what James Ivory does on his own (he's approaching 80, so perhaps we should not expect too much).


(Average 6.67)
30 Votes
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