Christopher Plummer received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station.
Christopher Plummer although had a long career he was never nominated until portraying Tolstoy in this film. Tolstoy although should seem like a larger than life sort of role neither the film nor Plummer really play him as such. The film basically shows him to be almost a pawn in the middle between his followers lead by Chertkov (Paul Giamatti) and his wife Sophia (Helen Mirren). Plummer at the same time does not have any sort of overwhelming presence in the film.
Tolstoy should really seem like more than the way Plummer portrays him. After all Tolstoy apparently created such a group of followers who were very much devoted to him, but Plummer lacks the charisma one should expect from such a figure. There just is not any special way Plummer portrays the character to really make Tolstoy seem substantial and really he should have found some way to do this, but he never does anything to achieve this.
This is not to say Plummer is bad, he certainly show the emotions Tolstoy is going through over the course of the film from his anger to the film, to his amusement over his new protege, or his sort of depression at the end of the film when he finally chooses to follow his own path. Plummer has his small facial reactions his more jovial moments, and his yelling scenes with Mirren that I suppose are suitable enough but always seem far too by the books for Tolstoy.
The whole performance by Plummer just feels a much too standard performance, and it never does anything with Tolstoy that makes his performance as Tolstoy distinct. The way he plays Tolstoy it feels like Tolstoy could be any old man. It just seems a like a missed opportunity by Plummer, although it is not a bad performance really, it just seems like a far too standard of a performance when it could have been something memorable.