Eisenstein begins at the end, with a close-up of the famed director gasping for breath in the last throes of a heart-attack. A cheery little voice announces “Well that was a sad little end… or beginning”. It belongs to Simon McBurney, who in his portrayal of Eisenstein makes no attempt to replace his native English accent with a Russian brogue. It is immediately disconcerting, and coupled with the jokey opening, lends a superficial attitude to the rest of the proceedings.
Flashing back to the start of his theatrical career, the movie touches base on key milestones of Eisenstein’s life without providing much depth or perspective. Unlike Eisenstein, who would combine several clips and edit them together into a cohesive montage, the scenes in this biopic seem to butt up against each other with little rhyme or reason. While some time is devoted to the conflict Eisenstein faces dealing with an authoritative regime, this amounts to little more than a Soviet censor sitting in a theatre decreeing Da or Net. Even more perfunctory is the way in which the biopic covers Eisenstein’s movies.
The movie ends with the following:- “Although this film is inspired by the life of Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein, the story, characters and incidents portrayed in this film are fictional and any connection to real people and events is coincidental."
Perhaps they should opened with that!
Rather than passing away on a crowded dance floor, Eisenstein died alone in his apartment.
No scene recreations in this biopic. Instead the film features Eisenstein working on a scene which is then followed by actual footage from Eisenstein's original.