Empire (UK) - - CINEMA - Dp

★★★ OUT 7 septem­ber / CERT 12a / 98 mins di­rec­tor Michael Mayer cast An­nette Ben­ing, Saoirse Ro­nan, Elis­a­beth Moss, Corey Stoll

AN­TON Chekhov’s PLAYS are no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to film and purists will bri­dle at the way in which di­rec­tor Michael Mayer and screen­writer Stephen karam have chopped and changed the text. yet they un­earth the vein of dark hu­mour that un­der­lies the melo­dra­matic mud­dles en­gulf­ing age­ing ac­tress An­nette Ben­ing’s fin-de-siè­cle Rus­sian house­hold, and there are mo­ments when this feels like the Chekhov movie that Woody Allen never made. But, while the pro­duc­tion val­ues are as im­pec­ca­ble as the ensem­ble play­ing, the sur­feit of overly emo­tive close-ups dis­tracts from Chekhov’s time­less in­sights into hu­man na­ture and the gulf be­tween se­ri­ous art and cheap im­i­ta­tions.

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