Director: Joe Wright
Starring: Keira Knightley, Jude Law
Set in 1874, Anna Karenina (Knightly) was a wealthy socialite who lived with her older Russian Statesman husband (Law) in St Petersburg. When she traveled to Moscow she met Cavalry Officer Count Vronski and a mutual attraction flourished. In this age of innocence, when respectability and honour were of paramount significance in Russian society, Anna fell from grace breaking her marriage vows and then becoming the mistress to a man she could not live without.
Beautifully filmed with meticulously costumed ballroom sequences, this tragic love story highlights the sheer beauty and elegance of an era gone by. The spellbinding musical score compliments the spectacular cinematography and adds to the atmosphere of grace and grandeur. However, regardless of all this splendour which borders on near epic proportions, this film seemed like a two hour Pears soap TV commercial, with plenty of suds and bubbles which burst very early on. The movie was far too long, lacked pace and was quite draining to watch. The strange storytelling technique which implied this film was a theatre production was original but detracting from the story. The initial twenty minutes was similar to Moulin Rouge, with that comic silliness which felt completely out of place and contradictory to the overall mood of the story.
Of notable dissatisfaction was Aaron-Taylor-Johnsonís (Vronski) makeup and hairstyle which gave the character the distinct appearance of being a member of the 70ís band The Village People. This made it impossible to believe that Anna would give up her world for this sub masculine looking character. Also Knightly failed to convey that sense of refinement and class which all female socialites were blessed with in that era. As a result, I didnít care what happened to these characters. This British movie has very limited appeal as lukewarm box office results have demonstrated. JAKE † †