Monday, April 22, 2013

Now at Netflix Instant: Anna Karenina (2012)

Anna Karenina (2012) - Directed by Joe Wright; Written by Tom Stoppard; Starring Keira Knightley, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Jude Law, Kelly MacDonald, Emily Watson, Olivia Williams.

By Kenny Howell

I really don't know where to start.

Is it the fact that majority of the film is shot in a decaying theatre, which includes multiples scenes on stages, even though there is no reason for someone to be on a stage? Is it that the first 30 minutes is filmed like a farce? Is it the incredibly inconsistent tone, which makes the film seem like a dream you had where you were in the story of Anna Karenina?

I am all for ambitious, but man, what was Joe Wright going for here?  This is Anna Karenina, one of the greatest books of all literature. Every great work needs a breath of fresh air occasionally, but this is disaster. One minute, it is, as I stated, a farce. One minute it's a fairy tale. One minute it's period piece. One minute it's a surreal piece. I mean there is a scene where they "go" to the horse races and it is done, of course, on a stage.

And then there is the complete lack of Russia except the names. No one speaks Russian, which I can give leniency, I understand it's a movie for an English speaking audience. But at least give them Russian accents. Not British. It seems weird that people named Anushka and Blonsky would be speaking with a British accent.

The only thing this movie has going for it is that it is gorgeous. Wright has always had a knack for color and life within the frame. Atonement and Pride and Prejudice were a feast for the eyes. While Karenina is as well, it is a rot on the brain.

Rating: *

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