Starring: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Directed by Joe Wright
Run Time: 130 mins
Opens Novemeber 21st
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
Hey Phoenix Film Fans, another release this week is the modern retelling of the story by 19th Century novelist Leo Tolystoy, Anna Karenina. In this version of the film, stage and screen scribe Tom Stoppard and Director Joe Wright put their artistic touch on a classic story. On the 2012 film festival circuit, Anna Karenina picked up a few awards for Production Design at the Hollywood Film Festival and Breakthrough Performer Awards for Domhall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander at the Hamptons International Film Festival.
Set in 1874 Empirical Russia, Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) and her husband Count Alexi Alexandrovna Karenin (Jude Law) are a part of Russian high society, very well respected and well-known in St. Petersburg. When Anna receives a letter from her brother asking her to visit to help straighten out a situation that his wife is about to leave him for, she travels to Moscow to act as a mediator to rectify the issue. When she arrives, she is introduced to Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and the attraction is instant and intense. Anna tries to stay away from Vronsky, but he follows her back to St. Petersburg, where a torrid affair ensues. Anna, unable to deny her feelings for Vronsky, is ordered by Alexi to stay away from the Count and behave like the respectable married woman she is (supposed) to be.
As karma would have it, Anna ends up pregnant and now must choose between her life with Alexi, filled with honor, respect, dignity and wealth or leave her husband for Count Vronsky and have the reputation of shame, disgrace follow her for the rest of her life, along with loosing her son whom she has with Alexi.
In this retelling of Anna Karenina, a few thoughts sprung to the forefront of my mind while watching this film. The art direction, although quite lovely, was disconnected to the film and the artistic element of shifting scenes as a stage production was confusing and unnecessary to convey the essence of the story. The transformation from stage to scene was a dizzying arrangement, leading to further disconnect from the characters and the story. On a positive note, the costume design was spectacular; from the jewelry to the gowns to the military uniforms and men’s formal attire, the wardrobe selections are a visual feast for the eyes. The acting was decent, but it would have been preferable to have some Russian accents with some of the characters instead of all British accents; it slightly took away from the period and setting of the story. Just saying. It seemed to this reviewer that this film was trying to capture the intensity of the novel but setting to a pace/ artistic style more like "Moulin Rouge". You be the judge when Anna Karenina opens in theaters starting Wednesday November 21, 2012