Anna Karenina Reviews
And fail here...you know, it doesn't. Whether this second Knightley/Wright reunion actually succeeds instead is purely a matter of taste, but it's hard to overlook the dynamic nature of the actor-director partnership. Knightley unsurprisingly shines in each scene, and Wright's aptitude for creating engrossing visuals has clearly expanded over the years.
This film is so impeccably cast, it's actually creepy. Of special note, in addition to the luminous Knightley, a barely recognizable Jude Law retreats from his common and notorious "bad boy" image to deliver appropriately subtle work as Knightley's passionless husband. A frequently twirling (yes, really-can't be unseen) Aaron Taylor-Johnson steals most of his scenes not with his words or his movements, but with his hauntingly inscrutable countenance and steely glare. Alicia Vikander and Domhnall Gleeson come together a couple of years before their work on "Ex Machina" to expertly flesh out a love story that would otherwise have become a tedious B plot in the hands of less capable actors. Watching these five on stage in a theatrical version of the novel would be an instant tour de force.
Speaking of the stage, Wright makes a curious choice and takes a leaf out of Rob Marshall's playbook, setting many scenes in a theater. It's a gamble, for sure, and the payoff is interesting; in certain scenes, such as the horse race, the sudden appearance of the proscenium is jarring and all but distracts from the narrative, while several other moments (most notably, Law's brief brown study by the footlights) are expertly complemented by the fourth wall breaks. The real issue is that the theater device isn't consistently used. In "Chicago" and (ugh) "Nine," the musical numbers would be set on the mind's stage, leaving the remainder of the film to occur in ostensibly "real world" environments. "Anna Karenina" is not a musical, but the theater device could have easily been chosen for similar elements such as outdoor scenes, moments of intense emotion, or even the simple scenes representing the humdrum aspects of upper-class society. Wright should have picked one of the above and run with it. Instead, to the film's detriment, the scenes chosen for fourth wall breaks appear to have been mostly random.
I suppose this cinematographic choice is indicative of the hit-and-miss nature (mostly hit) of the film as a whole, really. Wright brought his vision to the table, but in the flurry of movie making, is vision appears to have become muddled.
Then the story revolves around their forbidden love. The movie is kinda weird as its a movie but its like you are watching a theater piece on the stage.
Although the movie is well told I felt it was a tad too long over 2 hours long.
A dramatic biopic on Anna Karenina life.
So parts was a musical too.
Some parts were dry.
The movie is not for all and the subject matter is for adults as it covers love marriage infidelity divorce.
I leave the choice up to you.
Aaron Johnson and Keira Knightley put in great performances and sizzle with such chemistry when on screen together.
The inventive stage setting has been done before, but this is played out in a way like no other film maker than Joe Wright. Majestic scenes, beautiful lighting and elegant choreography remind us that film is as much an art form than any other medium.
Stunning, lavish and very well acted. All you would want from a costume drama