In late-19th-century Russian high society, St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Alexei Vronsky.In late-19th-century Russian high society, St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Alexei Vronsky.In late-19th-century Russian high society, St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Alexei Vronsky.
Through the Lens of 'Darkest Hour' Director Joe Wright
A beautiful bore
This adaptation of Anna Karenina is a very flat adaptation of one of the greatest pieces of literature, but actually it is not only a failure as an adaptation but disappointing also on its own merits. It is not without its redeeming qualities of course, the costumes and sets are gorgeous and some of the best of the year, the music is beautifully composed, Jude Law is a superbly restrained and dignified Karenin and Matthew Macfadyen and Domhnall Gleeson are similarly excellent as Stiva and Levin respectively. Keira Knightley in the title role however didn't do it for me. She tries but comes across as too young and too selfish, and I also didn't care at all for her over-earnest mannerisms. The weak link of the cast is the woeful miscast that is Aaron Taylor-Johnson's Vronsky, often too moody and wooden as well as too effeminate and foppish, so much so it comes across as creepy. The script is very stilted and lacking in any kind of heart. There is a lot of melodrama as well but it comes across as forced, while the switching from play-within-a-play to film is confusing. The story similarly suffers from pedestrian pacing and the drama and characters are too thin to make us properly care and that is including Anna, whose attempts to overcome her suffering is entirely too trivialised here. Even bigger of a problem was Joe Wright's direction, I loved Pride and Prejudice and especially Atonement so I hoping a similar kind of directing job. But Wright often seems to be paying attention to himself too much, with the camera work too incongruous and surreal. Everything, from the gimmicky theatrical elements to the ball scene where the dancing is so robotic and where you don't have a clue what dance style it's supposed to be, plays too much of an overblown musical but without song and dance. In conclusion a disappointment even on its own, for me a beautiful bore is a very apt summing up as to how I felt about it. See the Greta Garbo and Vivien Leigh films instead. 4/10 Bethany Cox
- Feb 23, 2013
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