Monday, February 25, 2013

Anna Karenina (2012)

February 25, 2013

"Anna Karenina" is a classic in Russian literature by Leo Tolstoi. I only know the basic story about a married Russian aristocrat and her passionate and ill-fated affair with a younger count. I generally do not like stories that deal with adultery. But this one is based on a famous novel which I have not yet read, and this film had multiple Oscar nominations, so I wanted to see how this film directed by Joe Wright will tell the story.

This version of "Anna Karenina" is a beautifully-filmed, technically- polished production. All the technical aspects are practically perfect! The cinematography was breath-taking. The editing was exciting. The production design was impeccable. The music was effectively moving. Joe Wright's idea of setting the story to unfold on a stage was artistic, imaginative and inspired. 

I believe what held this film from being the best it could be was the cast. I know Keira Knightley is a Joe Wright favorite. She had been in his two most famous films, "Pride and Prejudice" (2005) and "Atonement" (2007), both of which had Keira perfectly casted. As Anna, there seemed to be a problem in conveying the motivation for sacrificing her ideal marriage to Karenin (Jude Law in an understated role). 

I think the main problem is the lack of chemistry between Keira and Aaron Taylor-Johnson who played her illicit lover Count Vronsky. If not for that perfectly shot dance scene in the ballroom where Anna and the Count gave in to their lust, the rest of the film will make you wonder what the fuss about the Count was all about. Taylor-Johnson's Vronsky looked pretty, pale, sulky and weak, not the dominating alpha male which would sweep the sophisticated Anna off her feet.

Well, this movie did make me want to seek out the other film versions of the novel for comparison. It also made me want to read the source novel itself to see how such a mundane story of unfaithfulness be as timeless as this one had been. This movie, while beautiful to look at, failed to make me see why.


  1. At first I thought this is the TV series before. Hehe. So this is where it came from pala.
    I am curious about this film. I want to watch this.

  2. There may be some loopholes in the matching of the actors and the characters. At first, I thought Keira Knightly would be perfect to be torn among aristocrats but maybe there maybe something missing in the delivery.

  3. Wow! i haven't watched this movie but i already downloaded it... and this weekend i will try to watch this film.

  4. I better watch this movie, it looks interesting.

  5. Same here, I really thought it's the TV Series before. But with these cast, sure, this is another intelligent film.

  6. Looks interesting. I want to watch this movie.