Nick's Review of Anna Karenina
Keep dreaming if you like your literary classics served cold. Director Joe Wright is in the business of shutting out all things stale. Not to say Leo Tolstoy's 19th-century masterpiece ever settles for shallow; but if you're going into this "Anna Karenina" don't expect Wright to forgo his directorial intuitions, here a mix shared of sweeping emotion over a pseudo-theatrical base. Either way it never lets style cool or play safe. Wintry, balletic, and tirelessly pictorial, "Anna Karenina" also features a devastatingly fractured performance from Keira Knightley as Anna, as well as one of chilled rage from Jude Law as Aleksei Karenin, Anna's husband and baby daddy who draws short at Anna's lusty falling for the younger Count Vronksy's (Aaron Johnson) Prince Charming.
But it's a tragedy told with such delicacy it wouldn't be hard to overlook the darkness of Tom Stoppard's screenplay and the trivialities of a tabloid aristocracy's suspenses, sent up with showman-like virtue. It's a story of how scandal and anxieties can easily turn to grudge in a movie that dazzles in perpetual motion, leading gracefully into a stickily funny final shot that perfectly summarizes love's cruel vice of not being able to get everything you want.