Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption.
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"For those who have vision and the courage to follow it, there is no law and no crime and no punishment, only a revaluation of all values." So declares Rodya Raskolnikov the young Russian intellectual living in ugly poverty. In order to eat, he is forced to pawn precious possessions for a few roubles to the greedy "cockroach", Alyona. If he kills her, Rodya argues, he commits no crime: rather he will rid the world of a "filthy insect", just like one of the cockroaches the listener can hear being crushed beneath his boots. As Alyona examines Rodya's silver cigarette case, he brings his axe down upon her with the horrifying sound of steel hitting human flesh. Despite this not being a crime, Rodya suffers fearful guilt--and inevitable punishment. It is Sonya, the abused young woman forced into prostitution by her drunken father, who holds the power of Rodya's redemption. Dramatisation is a superb vehicle for this tense psychological masterpiece and the performances are powerful: the baiting of Rodya by Jim Norton as Petrovich, the police officer who suspects Rodya's guilt, is chilling; while Barnaby Kay skilfully conveys Rodya's duality as his human conscience, breathless with panic, argues with his controlled and truculent intellect. -- Running time approx 2 hours 50 minutes-- Rachel Redford Book Description:
'The old woman was merely a sickness . . .it wasn't a human being I killed, it was a principle!' Raskolnikov, Crime and Punishment (20030924)
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