The Last Station begs an interesting question. Is “religion” a life killing institution that seeks only to ‘take’ from people ? According to the film, in the latter years of his life, author Count Leo Tolstoy (he of the War and Peace and Anna Karenina fame) – played by Christopher Plummer - sought to implement a place of freedom and truth from his commune that was outside the traditional Orthodox religion of his time.
In a movie twist his followers, led by Chertkov (Paul Giamatti) seek to institutionalise their Tolstoyism which in turn only leads their followers to follow their puritanical rules and thus continue the cycle of one form of oppression. In one of the film’s best lines, when asked if they believe Tolstoy is the Christ, the answer back is “certainly a prophet : God speaks through him; I recognise the cadence in his voice.”