“After a short intermission, in I hobbled to Anna Karenina. Again, brilliantly team assembled. Joe Wright directing a cast that includes Keira Knightly, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kelly MacDonald, and a screenplay by another playwright Tom Stoppard. Huh, guess this was a theater-ish day for me.
Actually, with this film, the theater goes even further. It was set inside a theater, sorta. I was actually a bit confused about some of that concept since I never quite got my head around exactly what the setting was. Took me a while to figure out that there was no definite answer to that; it was all more of an abstraction. The end result was absolutely gorgeous, even if my logical need-to-know-whats-going-on brain had trouble with the concept. Please, just hand this team the Oscar for art direction now. And while you’re at it, might as well give them one for costumes as well because damn. While a lot of settings and boundaries weren’t quite defined, it allowed for some gorgeous shots (maybe a nod for cinematography while we’re on the subject) and beautifully emotion inducing scenery. Some scenes had brilliant subtle choreography, and others more ellaborate and breathtaking movement. A few scenes had really clever staging with the theater setup, I’m thinking of the horse race in particular. Just such a different spin on a story that’s been told so many times.
Not that I’m actually familiar with the story to begin with. It somehow never made my list back when I was reading every piece of classic literature I could get my hands on. Then again, this was prolly too racy to be on a fifth grader’s radar. From my understanding of it, the story was stripped down quite a bit to fit into this film, but for whatever my opinion’s worth, I think it worked. Yeah, it had that usual glossed over romance that most movies tend to be guilty of, where you don’t quite get why these people are so truly madly deeply in love, but they say it so often you just go with it.
I did love the cast. Not sure that anyone’s a particular standout from the aforementioned group, but they were all phenomenal. I knew the basics of how the story would play out, but I was still invested in all of them and seeing where they were going. The fact that these were all beautiful faces that fit into the beautiful scenery didn’t hurt either.
For me, I think this was a good intro to such a classic. I mean, c’mon, if the world if theater isn’t gonna speak to me, there’s lil hope anything else would. I am getting that need to grab the book feel that comes with these adaptations, but knowing that the vibe would be waaaaaay different is enough to dissuade me. For now.
Anna Karenina – \m/ \m/ \m/