Leo Tolstoy—haven't yet got around to reading his literary canon—possibly because each novel is a flippin 1000+ pages! That normally wouldn't stop me but a long winded, sweeping Russian novel just doesn't sound that appealing at this stage in my life. Perhaps I should reconsider. Perhaps not.
Anna Karenina is Joe Wright's third movie with his muse Keira Knightley. They are a terrific pairing and yield superb novel adaptations. I thought Pride and Prejudice was one of the best Jane Austen adaptations to date. This new film is, I believe, the least watchable of the three.
Anna Karenina is set up like a extravagant stage play with many ingenious, rapid scene changes right before your eyes. The clever set design, notwithstanding, I still couldn't bring myself to enjoy the movie. It was irritating to watch and harbored multiple conflicting juxtapositions. The comic relief felt misplaced, the love story was unconvincing and the overall vibe seemed off kilter. Weirdly, I felt the need numerous times for someone to break into song. It seems as if the whole concept would have faired far better as a tragic musical. The costumes are beautiful, the score is apt and you will see enough close-ups of Knightley to last a lifetime. I applaud the attempt at something different but all in all it didn't work out.
Recommended Viewing: Pride and Prejudice - Sense and Sensibility - The Last Station
Bob Scale: The Critic: 6.5 - The Fan: 5.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 61