If Alexander Adabashyan’s miniseries managed to quite accurately establish the content of the first book of the cycle about Erast Petrovich in 200 minutes, then the director Nurbek Egen and his team of screenwriters went in a completely different way, significantly changing the scenario. . The events already familiar to us from the novel and the 2002 TV series are unfolding in an alternative modern Russia, which has never known the triumph of the October Revolution and has not seen the Bolsheviks in power – the Romanovs. they still rule here.
In general, it is surprising why domestic filmmakers resort so rarely to this apparently superficial technique, even though public interest in Imperial Russia and its captivating aesthetics is only growing. For the moment, however, we could only content ourselves with timid and brief visits to this territory which, in fact, promises much excellent material for the work of a trained fantasy. There is where to roam. But so far, something similar was offered at the end of the recent “Karamora” by Danila Kozlovsky and a little earlier and fleetingly – in “Draft” by Sergei Lukyanenko.
Meanwhile, Egen had the experience of embodying on the screen of the pre-revolutionary era, in the series “Sherlock in Russia”, a rather original interpretation of the work of Conan Doyle, sprinkled with steampunk. And then obviously it had to be useful.
The viewer is presented with a variant of the same “Russia that we have lost”: correspondence on smartphones is carried out using the pre-reform alphabet, and the products of technological progress known to us, which have advanced a little else, they coexist with the traditional imperial social hierarchy. Which adds to the world the features of dystopia: representatives of the lowest social groups are crowded into small cramped rooms located on ugly hills of men (yes, the empire has its own “khrushchev”), and full surveillance due to to full digitization exceeds all imaginable limits.
It is really interesting to study the world built by the authors, moreover, they were not too lazy to clutter it with all sorts of ironic Easter eggs and unexpected historical metamorphoses like the street of Emperor Hirohito in the capital Petrograd or a descendant of Lenin, known as a radical left-wing action artist.
Funny and Maxim Matveev in the role of Emperor Nicholas III, the character is very reminiscent of his predecessor and namesake of the 20th century. Also, the creators did not deny themselves the pleasure of adding elements of a political thriller and geopolitical games to the plot. The role of the young and novice Fandorin went to Vladislav Tiron, who did not even need to get out of the image of Trigger’s clumsy Matyusha.
All this, of course, deserves attention, but, alas, it could be much better. Especially, in terms of technical performance, which is especially striking in the offensively mediocre graphics on the general plans of the imperial capital, even less impressive than in “Eternal” from the same “Kinopoisk”.
As for the main plot, (at least after the first episodes) as a whole it tries to stay closer to the text, with minor (and not very justified) changes. Although it is likely that later we will see a closer intertwining of the original story with the adventures of the newly invented characters.
In short, the impression is ambiguous: there is something to see and even something to rejoice at, but there are a lot of suspiciously unpleasant questions from the very beginning.
Text on the Year of Literature website