9 December 2002 | Mack2611
Exceptional acting by one veteran and three "unknowns"
I've never seen the original Dr Zhivago movie, so I won't be comparing one to the other. I just want to say that I loved this, and that everything about it was excellent, in particular the acting.
Hans Matheson from Les Miserables and Still Crazy was very impressive as Yury Zhivago, a young man torn between his loving wife - whose family raised him - and Lara - the war nurse he has fallen for. Matheson handles the role very well, and ages well from Zhivago's youth to his older years.
Sam Neill, as usual, is perfect as Komarovsky, Lara's evil seducer, and the man who drove Yury's father to suicide. He plays the villain of the piece like the pro he is. You'll love to hate him.
The real surprise in this series was Kiera Knightley as Lara. Taking on a role like this, made famous by Julie Christie, at only 17 was frowned upon by several people, but this teenager has proven that she is more than capable. In fact, she is one of the best things about this, entirely believable as Lara, both young and old, handling some of the more "embarrassing" scenes with maturity and professionalism. It's hard to believe that the actors who play her children aren't much more than ten years younger than herself! I thought she was impressive in The Hole and Bend it Like Beckham, but this is - in my opinion - her best performance to date.
Another shock came from Kris Marshall - best known for his role as the dopey son in My Family. He shines in this as the idealistic young revolutionary who pines after Lara, to her husband, insanely jealous of Komorovsky, to the ruthless revolutionary leader. There is far more to this guy than meets the eye.
All the supporting characters and their actors - Alexandra Maria Lara (Tonya), and Hugh Bonneville (Zhivago's father) to name a few - are all good in their roles as well.
If this is ever on TV again, in whatever country, I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. A definite 10/10.