Summary: The third collaboration of Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley with acclaimed director Joe Wright, following the award-winning boxoffice successes Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, is a bold, theatrical new vision of the epic story of love, adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s timeless novel by Academy Award winner Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love). The story powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart.
Set in late-19th-century Russia high-society, the aristocrat Anna Karenina (Knightley) enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count Vronsky (Johnson). As Anna questions her happiness and marriage to Alexei Karenin (Law), change comes to all around her.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th February, 2013
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Joe Wright
Screenwriter: Tom Stoppard, Leo Tolstoy (novel)
Cast: Marine Battier (Mlle. Roland), Max Bennett (Petritsky), Bodil Blain (Princess Sorokina Senior), Nicholas Blatt (Major Domo), Antony Byrne (Colonel Demin), Tannishtha Chatterjee (Masha), Kenneth Collard (Prince Tverskoy), Sam Cox (Kapitonich), Buffy Davis (Agafia), Cara Delevingne (Princess Sorokina), Michelle Dockery (Princess Myagkaya), Steve Evets (Theodore), Emerald Fennell (Princess Merkalova), Aruhan Galieva (Aruhan), Freya Galpin (Masha Oblonsky), Domhnall Gleeson (Levin), Tillie-Bett Grant (Baby Anya), Carl Grose (Korney), Holliday Grainger (Baroness), Paul Ham (Michael), Byran Hands (Mikhail Slyudin), Hera Hilmar (Varya), Thomas Howes (Yashvin), Giles King (Stemov), Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina), Jude Law (Karenin), Henry Lloyd-Jones (Burisov), Susanne Lothar (Princess Scherbatsky), Kelly Macdonald (Dolly), Matthew Macfadyen (Oblonsky), Eric MacLennan (Matey), Jude Monk McGowan (Tuskevitch), Oskar McNamara (Serhoza), Beatrice Morrissey (Vasya Oblonsky), Cecily Morrissey (Lili Oblonsky), Octavia Morrissey (Tanya Oblonsky), Theo Morrissey (Grisha Oblonsky), Luke Newberry (Vasily Lukich), Raphael Personnaz (Alexander Vronsky), Alexandra Roach (Countess Nordston), Guro Nagelhus Schia (Annushka), Bill Skarsgard (Makhotin), Kyle Soller (Korrsunsky), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Vronsky), Pip Torrens (Prince Shcherbatsky), Alicia Vikander (Kitty), Eros Vlahos (Boris), Emily Watson (Countess Lydia Ivanova), Olivia Williams (Countess Vronsky), David Wilmot (Nikolai), Ruth Wilson (Princess Betsy Tverskoy)
Runtime: 130 mins
Dave Griffiths’s ‘Anna Karenina’ Review:
Yet another classic masterpiece of literature finds its way onto the big screen with the ambitious project from director Joe Wright (‘Hanna’, ‘The Soloist’) and screenwriter Tom Stoppard (‘Enigma’, TV’S ‘Parade’s End’), a project that has seen them turn Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel ‘Anna Karenina’ into a two-hour film.
For those who have never been forced to read the novel at school the story Based on the classic novel by Leo Tolstoy the film sees Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley – ‘Stars In Shorts’, ‘Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World’) become involved in an intense love triangle with her wealthy husband, Karenin (Jude Law – ‘Side Effects’, ‘Rise Of The Guardians’) and a young soldier, Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson – ‘Savages’, ‘Albert Nobbs’). While her relationship with Karenin seems steady, Anna must face potential status ruin if she wants to pursue this new exciting love.
Meanwhile Levin (Domhnall Gleeson – ‘Dredd’, ‘Shadow Dancer’) finally plucks up the courage to ask the beautiful Kitty (Alicia Vikander – ‘A Royal Affair’, ‘The Crown Jewels’) to marry him, but because she is also wrapped up in Vronsky she says no, which in turn shatters Levin and has him sadly wasting away.
To his credit Joe Wright doesn’t exactly rest on his laurels and produce yet another period film, no he instead decides to be a little creative and film most of ‘Anna Karenina’ inside a theatre, the end result is a film in the vein of ‘Moulin Rouge!’ that seems to suggest that this is a very public love affair that needs an audience. This inventive style, which includes sets changing in front of the audience’s eyes, does take a little while to get used to but once you feel that you are in line with the flow it actually ends up looking pretty sensational.
Still Wright is let down a little by Stoppard’s work. The original ‘Anna Karenina’ meanders through a lot of characters lives and sadly it seems that Stoppard seems to include too many of these characters in this film version. The main emphasis needs to on Anna/Karenin/Vronsky love triangle, but while the Levin and Kitty romance is entertaining to watch it seems that throughout the film it gets in the way of the main story, especially when those characters are geographically removed from being anywhere near Anna.
The big plus side to ‘Anna Karenina’ is the acting. Keira Knightley puts in one of her best performances in years and she well supported by Aaron Taylor-Johnson who although very removed from the role that made him famous, in ‘Kick-Ass’) puts in a wonderful performance… as does Alicia Vikander who on the back of her performance in ‘A Royal Affair’ indicates that she has a very big future ahead of her.
Sadly these performances are dragged down by Jude Law who surprisingly puts in one of his few poor performances. It seems as though he feels that the character of Karenin should never show emotion on his face, which seems like a poor choice seeing Karenin shows emotion in the film a lot – whether it be sadness or anger.
As far as modern blockbusters go ‘Anna Karenina’ is well worth a look. Wright’s interesting and inventive visual styling certainly brings something to the film, although there are a couple of lulls in the film that have been known to put audience members to sleep.
Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Anna Karenina′: Check Episode #20 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Anna Karenina’. Dave Griffiths also has another review of ‘Anna Karenina’ available on the Helium Entertainment Channel.