Director: Roman Polanski
Original Screenplay: Robert Rodat
Music by: John Williams
Stellan Skarsgard: Franz Ferdinand
Jared Leto: younger Franz Ferdinand
Marcia Gay-Harden: Sophie, Duchess of Hohenburg
Adrien Brody: Gavrilo Princip
Tagline: "The assassination that started the great war..."
Synopsis: The story chronicles the events that lead the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, which caused the breakout of the great war. We are introduced to Franz Ferdinand, as the young man(Franz Ferdinand) who was groomed to suceed after the suicide of his cousin, Crown Prince Rudolf, making him first line in throne. Years later, we are taken to the middle aged Franz Ferdinand(Stellan Skarsgard) meeting Countess Sophie Chotek(Marcia Gay-Harden). Through the years, they kept their relationship a secret to everyone as Sophie is uneligible to marry Franz Ferdinand. Franz refused to marry anyone else and married Sophie in a morganatic marriage in which none of his family member attended. Years later, we are taken to a Franz Ferdinand who is starting to alienate politcal parties. Many misunderstood Franz Ferdinand, hence the nationalist party Young Bosnia planned his assasionation.
Sophie's story is far from simple. After her marriage to Franz Ferdinand, she was alienated by the royal family as she is of different class. This put strain on their marriage and family life. She wasn't allowed to accompany his husband to any official events. On the dawn of June 28, she was allowed to accompany Franz to the opening of a museum as it was their anniversary. She, along with her husband faced their destiny with Gavrilo Princip.
We are then taken to the story of Gavrilo Princip. Gavrilo Princip suffered from tuberculosis since six years old which lead to a lot of rejections from different schools due to his poor health and weakness. The rejections in his life is one of his primary motives to prove that he is of equal as everybody else. Being rejected on the seat of the comittee of the young Bosnian, he decided to volunteer to kill Franz Ferdinand himself even though he is of ill health. And on June 28 1914, he walked towards the the royal car, and fired two bullets.
What the press would say:The multi layered story tells an unbiased story of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, an event which lead to an imbalance in Europe which spanned for decades. The inter-twinning movie is very unique as it leads us to the main event in three different points of view: Franz's, Sophie's and Gavrilo's. Jared Leto's performance is outshined by the other stars as he was given the lead role with the minimum screen time. Nevertheless, He portrayed the grieving, confused and uncomfortable Franz Ferdinand perfectly. Gay-Harden did a terrific job as the alienated wife of Ferdinand. Her acting is full of mix emotions which Sophie underwent: love, uneaasiness, rejection and alienation. Skarsgard was no less extraordinary. He didn't just portrayed Franz Ferdinand, he was Franz Ferdinand in that film. A man of command and authority. A man of love and principle. His performance is amazing especially with his last lines "Sophie dear, don't die! Stay alive for our children!". However, the actors are outshined by Brody. Once again he nailed it as the weak and ill Gavrilo Princip. He lost 3 stones in order to portray the weak Princip suffering from tuberculosis. Working once again with Polanski, Polanski ordered a strict diet for Brody and minimal social contact just like in The Pianist.
Polanski did a great job portraying an event which is usually forgotten in the history books. This is one of the most unique war films ever to come out in the cinema.
Best Supporting Actress: Marcia Gay-Harden
Best Actor: Stellan Skarsgard
Best Actor: Adrien Brody
Best Original Music