“War and Peace” Episode One

Right then, let me start by saying that I’m hardly an expert on classic Russian literature, knowing nothing about Tolstoy’s novel (well, other than the fact that Tolstoy wrote it…) and my historical knowledge about Napoleon and the like is pretty weak.

So anyway, onto the show. I have to say that during the first twenty minutes or so, I was pretty unimpressed; the series seemed rather wooden and I was getting ready to throw in the towel at the end of the episode.

However…the episode definitely stepped up a gear. The battle scenes were truly exemplary, being suitably gruesome and the music that accompanied was perfect. The story itself also became much more interesting, with its themes of treachery, conspiracy and even incest.

And at the centre of it all is Paul Dano, who is surely perfectly suited to his role as Pierre, unaware of the treachery that is surrounding him. In addition, Tuppence Middleton is a suitably alluring, sinister presence and Jim Broadbent delivers a brief but excellent turn as Andrei’s father.

In summary, I am glad that the episode turned up trumps and I will definitely look forward to next Sunday’s episode. Oh, and the fact that it comes from BBC Wales makes it all the sweeter!

Verdict: B+

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