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actor: Lily James

Yes, it is adapted from the book. Now let’s get on to more critical information I can give you as someone who has already watched it: clear up the next 7 hours. I started it at midnight, finished it at 7am. This binge-worthy historical drama tells the story of how the illegitimate son of the richest man in Russia (played by Paul Dano) finds himself in the center of his country’s downfall as it faces another Napoleon invasion. Romance intertwines with war, tragedy and greed. Tolstoy himself (author of the book this series is based on) recognized that the tangled story is not novel-like, “even less is it a poem, and still less a historical chronicle". Directed by Tom Harper (Peaky Blinders), it has an almost obsessive attention to detail that captures the glamor, deceit, and insanity of its time. More importantly, it stays true to the philosophical nature of the written material, and by extension becomes an illustrative work on the human condition in general.

9.6
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Remember the name Rufus Norris. "Broken" is his directorial debut and he handles it like a seasoned pro. Also keep an eye out in the future for its young star, Eloise Laurence, who shows all the natural ability of a young Natalie Portman or Jodie Foster. Laurence plays "Skunk", a twelve year old trying to make sense of life - and whose task isn't made any easier by her own family's internal struggles, or the other families living in the peaceful-looking cul-de-sac where much of the action takes place. We're informed from the get-go that some sort of tragedy will befall the girl, but we don't know what shape it will take, or what the outcome of it will be. The tension builds from there, with a little relief along the way, thanks to her often-amusing performance as she witnesses the confusing actions of her elders. Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy are also in good form, both of whom seem happy to complement Laurence's presence rather than try to upstage her. "Broken" is equal parts cute, frightening, and brutally tense. It's well worth checking out.

8
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