Never have the noble humanities and horrible dehumanization been revealed to such extremes as in Dickens' "A Tale Of Two Cities". Just exactly to what extreme the human hatred could go, just exactly to what extreme the human love could go, and just exactly to what extreme the human sacrifice could go, you will get answers from this novel.
It tells ineffably touching stories of love and sacrifice, striking stories of hatred and revenge, in the turmoil of French Revolution. This was the time that hunger would drive poor people to sip the wine spilled on the street stones, this was the time that an innocent man (Dr. Manette, Lucie's father) was imprisoned in the Bastille for eighteen years not for any crimes but for saving people's lives, this was the time that conscience made a noble person (Charles Darnay) to relinquish his aristocratic title and pursue life of simplicity and dignity, this was the time that a gentleman (Charles Darnay) would take the risk his own life to save the life of his servant, and this was the time that a young man (Sydney Carton) would take another man's place on the guillotine and realize his promise to his beloved (Lucie), to whom he treasured as "the last dream of my soul"......
This Masterpiece Theatre miniseries did a fairly good job in crafting the stories, although less successfully in bringing out the grandeur of the Revolution. But thanks to the wonderful actors and actresses, their brilliant acting has, to some extent, made up the weaknesses. Sydney Carton is a fascinating character. Young actor James Wilby has excellently sustained Carton's emotional complexities: his cynicism, his indifference, his impulsive yearning for life, and his devoted love to Lucie. Carton, who is Darnay's lookalike and bears the same great affection towards Lucie, is, however, Darnay's inner alter ego. In contrast with Darnay's ideal, Carton is real, and, when fleshed out by James Wilby with immense delicacies, this is the character that couldn't be more captivating. Most of the other characters are also well rendered, with maybe a weak line with Madame Defarge, whose hatred and thirsty for revenge is somewhat stiffly and superficially depicted.
"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known", the drama ended with Carton walking towards the axe, while Lucie, Darnay, and their daughter riding towards their safe home. This is a most heroic and epic moment, a moment of glory in the midst of grief, and a moment of eternity in the midst of extermination.