Anna Karenina is acclaimed director Joe Wright’s bold, theatrical new vision of the epic story of love, stirringly adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s great novel by Academy Award winner Tom Stoppard . The timeless story powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart, whilst illuminating the lavish society that was imperial Russia.
'The year is 1874. Vibrant and beautiful, Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) has what any of her contemporaries would aspire to: she is the wife of Karenin (Jude Law), a high-ranking government official to whom she has borne a son, and her social standing in St. Petersburg could scarcely be higher. She journeys to Moscow after a letter from her philandering brother Oblonsky (Matthew Macfadyen) arrives, asking for Anna to come and help save his marriage to Dolly (Kelly Macdonald). En route, Anna makes the acquaintance of Countess Vronsky (Olivia Williams), who is then met at the train station by her son, the dashing cavalry officer Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). When Anna is introduced to Vronsky, there is a mutual spark of instant attraction that cannot--and will not--be ignored.'
I originally saw this spectacular and highly theatrical film at the cinema last year and again today on DVD that I ordered through Amazon.
Once again I enjoyed the theatricality of the piece and the superb photography and choreographed action. My favourite section was the horse race and the crowd reaction as Anna gasps thinking that her lover Count Vronsky is dead. Director Joe Wright arranges and frames this potentially complex narrative by use of a sumptuous Russian theatre of the period. I loved the arched dance like mingling of the main characters and the crowds. Tom Stoppard's text was as unfailingly brilliant as one would expect from this master of the genre.
I thought that Keira Knightly gave a very mature performance in the title role as did Jude Law as her husband. Matthew Macfayden was brilliant as the philandering brother Steva Oblonsky and I thought that the slow burning love affair between Levin and Kitty was very touchingly and effectively done.
The last scene was totally jaw dropping beautiful. I'll not spoil it for those who have had the pleasure of this film.