1904. The Russian-Japanese War. Manchuria. Russian military hospital on the retreat stations in a half-destroyed Chinese village. The head of the hospital Sergey Karenin learns that the ... See full summary »
Whether this is better than other dramatizations of the book is irrelevant. If it's bad, it's bad--and this is bad. The fact that this version covers far more of the book--including Kostya Levin's story, which I think is more interesting than Anna's--just makes its atrocities even more unbearable.
What bothered me much more than its distortions of the book's characters and deviations from its plot is its dragging THE WHOLE BOOK down to the level of a soap opera. From the very first scene with Countess Vronskaya and Anna on the train, and in every single following scene, all the way through to the end, I felt like I was watching As The Word Turns--all 13,858 episodes. It made me sick.
To me, one of Tolstoy's most astonishing achievements in this book is that it NEVER--not for one scene or one paragraph or one word--falls into melodrama. Every character is alive and real, everything they do is believable and organic. Nothing is overblown or contrived.
This production is the exact opposite. EVERYTHING is overblown, EVERYTHING feels contrived and phony and stupid. It takes a very great book and turns it into cheap melodrama. What a disgrace.
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