This German entry to the 2009 SIFF is based on the 1901 Thomas Mann classic novel by the same name. It is a richly produced, big-budget Warner Brothers project and in my opinion, it followed the novel fairly closely.

If you are in the mood for an authentic re-telling of the decline and fall of the prominent Buddenbrooks mercantile family as they struggle to main- tain their social standing and wealth, this lush costume melodrama does the job. In German with English subtitles, this saga runs 140 minutes and unfortunately, it seems even longer.

In scriptwriter Heinrich Breloer's defense, when adapting a classic, it's hard to know what to cut, and then have the courage to do so. As a result, we see all of the abortive love affairs, the failed marriages, the business dealings and to top it off, a truly grisly episode in a dentist's chair. Ugh!

Great costumes, authentic sets, capable actors, a classic story line, but too much of a good thing is still too much...