One of the first things that you have to say about the BBC’s new adaptation of War and Peace it that is looks sumptuous and gorgeous and is a full blown proper costumed drama like only the beeb know how to make properly.
The establishing shots of Moscow and St Peterburg are simply breathtaking as are some of the sets in the large palatial homes of the Russian aristocracy such as the Bezukhov’s and the Bolkonsky’s.
It also has to be noticed that all of the younger characters look like they have come straight out of Hollyoaks or television adverts for perfume whereas the older characters all seem to have a bit more going for them than how they look. I would imagine this is more to do with modern sensebilities, and what people think people want to watch, rather than being what the characters are meant to look like. I mean Natasha is meant to be a very pretty girl so the casting here works.
There are losts of great actors on display in this episode such as Stephen Rea as Vasilly, Adrian Edmonson as Count Rostov, Brian Cox as Kuztoz, Rebecca Front as Anna Mikhailovna Drubetskaya, Gillian Anderson as Anna Pavlovna, Jim Broadbent as Nikolai Bolkonsky. It is a veritable who’s who of acting talent here.
The younger members of the cast are also quite impressive with Paul Dano excelling as Pierre. He seems like a nice sort of bloke who gets tongue tied around the opposite sex which makes me warm to him immediately. James Norton’s Andrei just seems pissed off for most of the episode especially when he is with his wife but seems like a different person around his father, sister, Pierre and when he goes to war. Lilly James’ Natasha is a very pretty, rather flighty, girl who likes dancing and seems to like the cut of Boris’ jib and has a very captivating smile. Tuppence Middleton and Callum Turner as the Kuragin siblings Helene and Anatole seem to be very close indeed in this episode and you can see why Pierre would be captivated by her and also why he shouldn’t go anywhere near her with barge pole as she is no good for him. Jack Lowden’s Nikolai is very keen to go to war, but it also very keen on his cousin Sonya and thinks that going to war is a bit of lark, at least until he starts to experience it first hand that is.
There are lots of other characters Marya Bolkonskaya (Andrei’s sister) played by Jessie Buckley, Sonya Rostova (Natasha and Nikolai’s cousin) played by Aisling Loftus, Boris Drubetskoy played by Aneurin Barnard that we see here but none of them really have a great deal to do, in this episode at least.
The first episode was rather impressive and I cannot wait to see the rest of it.