In 1874, in the Imperial Russia, the aristocratic Anna Karenina travels from Saint Petersburg to Moscow to save the marriage of her brother Prince Oblonsky, who had had a love affair with his housemaid. Anna Karenina has a cold marriage with her husband, Count Alexei Karenin, and they have a son. Anna meets the cavalry officer Count Vronsky at the train station and they feel attracted by each other. Soon she learns that Vronsky will propose to Kitty, who is the younger sister of her sister-in-law Dolly. Anna satisfactorily resolves the infidelity case of her brother and Kitty invites her to stay for the ball. However, Anna Karenina and Vronsky dance in the ball, calling the attention of the conservative society. Soon they have a love affair that will lead Anna Karenina to a tragic fate. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
(at around 32 mins) While Anna is traveling on a train she was reading a book which was supposed to be in Russian. However, the word that appeared on the screen was in Hungarian "olajfestmény" meaning oil painting. See more »
If an award were given for over-directing, this would win hands down. it's a tribute to Tolstoy that his story came through the fog of metaphor and cliché, from the stage set play-within-a-movie (our only guess as to meaning is that they were skimping on location shooting) to actors twirling around each other to tearing up letters (and with them any semblance of meaning to life) - to the point of tossing the scraps up, only to come down as snow (could it get worse?).
With a story like Anna Karenina it seems the director's only job would be to decide which parts to omit; instead, Joe Wright has decided to turn it into a soap opera. It's as if he were doing Shakespearean sonnets and correcting the rhyme and meter.
And casting Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Vronsky? When he first came out I thought they'd done a spoof. He reminded me of Gene Wilder in a Mel Brooks version of Tolstoy. On the other hand, Jude Law was perfect as Karenin, as were Domnhall Gleeson as Levin and Olivia Williams as Countess Vronskaya. Sadly, Keira Knightly seems to have thought she was still doing Pirates of the Caribbean, as far from Tolstoy as you can be.
How two marvelously creative men, Wright who did Atonement and Stoppard who gave us the incredible Coast of Utopia, could do this is beyond comprehension.
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