So I went to see Anna Karenina last night. I don’t profess to know much about films or film making so my reviews on here are to be taken with a grain of salt but I have to say… while it wasn’t a complete success, it was pretty impressive.
Tom Stoppard (screenwriter) and Joe Wright (Director) have done a remarkable job of adapting Leo Tolstoy’s incredibly long novel into a digestible movie for the masses. Staring Kiera Knightley as Anna, Jude law as her cuckolded husband Karenin and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as her lover Count Vronsky, this version is unconventional, bold, creative and dramatic.
Set largely in a theatre, the scenes are shot in the rafters with the pulleys and ropes, in the auditorium and the stage itself, using props like miniature trains and theatre curtains juxtaposed with real scenery and even blending the real and the theatre together (the final scene the entire theatre is filled with grass from a meadow).
This blend of the real and the theatrical cleverly highlights the nuances of the world Anna Karenina lived in – the hypocrisies of 19th Century Russian high society, the inequality between men and women and classes and the challenges the people of the time were facing politically.
The use of the theatre as the primary set was hard to get used to at first but in the end I loved it, the costumes were INCREDIBLE, the use of extras frozen in time like wax mannequins was impressive and putting things like the aforementioned grass in the theatre and the horse race in the auditorium was surprising and rather dramatic.
I’m not a massive fan of Kiera Knightley in general and while she played the character well, she wasn’t amazing or anything. One thing I will say though, she is far, far too thin. You can see all of the bones in her back and it’s just horrid!
Jude Law – well he was incredible. Amazing what they did to make him look old, strict, stiff and boring and he played the character flawlessly!
It is pretty long – so I wouldn’t recommend going late if like me you love your sleep but even if at the very least you like to be dazzled and you love looking at the period costumes then you should see it. And if you have a love for theatre and clever ways of combining the real, the hyper-real and the screen then this is definitely one for you.
Image is from IMBD website.