The acting is exquisite. Some of the dialogue is extraordinary. So why
The script relies upon characters who rarely reach beyond their own clichéd origins.
The devil is in the detail and the script too often gets bogged down in it. Esoteric knowledge from here, there and everywhere flies at the audience, eventually drowning them in a pool of trivia. As various conspiracies and versions of the official story arise we struggle against a confusing narrative and a wealth of interesting but irrelevant knowledge. The far simpler questions of what these characters want or what they have done are left muddied and muddled by a historical context too overdone to make dramatic sense.
The script relies upon characters who rarely reach beyond their own clichéd origins. There is the slick journalist, the decadent aristocrat, the conservative wife, none of whom are given any original twist. What saves these characters is the acting. Joseph Chance is a stand out as Halliday, the fast talking and fast thinking American who is keen for the truth and even keener for a good story. Joanna Griffin is also terrific, bringing skill and grace to the stage in all sorts of roles.
The cast and story do their best work in odd little vignettes. Flashbacks that might work well as standalone sketches prompt giddy laughter. Silhouette scenes that act almost like silent comedy films are blazingly funny. But these are unfortunately the exception to the rule. The denouement when it comes is protracted and fails to tie the narrative together.
I Killed Rasputin, like its eponymous hero, is hard to nail down. Strong elements mix with weak to provide a fun if never stirring experience.