Friday, October 18, 2013

Movie Review ... Anna Karenina


anna karenina posterFilmed many times, Leo Tolstoy’s 1877 novel has endured.  It’s hardly surprising given it features the ingredients movies crave.  Passion, love and loss all provide an enticing brew drawing audiences as its multiple re-workings attest.  Crafting a modern take on the classic tale, this latest version benefits from Tolstoy’s still stirring tale.

Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) is a wealthy socialite living with her husband Alex (Jude Law).  Asked to intervene in saving her brother’s marriage, little does she know of the chain reaction it starts.  During this crisis she meets Count Alexi (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who changes her life forever.  Walking a dangerous path among the echelons of Russian high society, she learns the tyranny of desire waiting to trap those daring to claim it.

One thing that can be said of Joe Wright’s direction of ‘Anna Karenina’ is that it has plenty of dynamic flair.  From the first to last frame viewers observe the action within the confines of a stage production.  Whilst off-putting at first, this succeeds in conveying the pure drama and shifting nature of relationships.  Occasionally the striking visuals smother much needed emotional depth hindering its overall impact, although the unfolding events are consistently arresting.

If the scenery is over-whelming at times, the contrast between Anna’s relationships and that of her brother maintains interest.  How they deal with the consequences of their actions is effectively handled as is the nature of how fluid one’s standing in life can instantly change.  The cast give mostly fine performances even if Knightley and Taylor-Johnson seem a little too young to carry off the gravitas their roles need.

There may be better versions although ‘Anna Karenina’ has enough original touches to make it stand out.  The passion of Tolstoy’s work is still shown no matter what technical tricks are used in expressing it with his classic tale still resonating centuries later.


Movie Review Rating out of 10:  7

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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