Monday, December 31, 2012

Anna On A Wicked Stage (Film Review: Anna Karenina)

Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina" is a very different Anna Karenina.  It is set in a soundstage, and has been art-directed to death. Actors appear as if on stage: with cues and marks. It took me a while to get used to it. I was kind of expecting scenic and picturesque, even looking forward to how Saint Petersburg will be filmed, since I fell in love with that city when I visited it last year. I read the novel a long time ago and I really can't recall much about it, except for the main character committing adultery. Keira Knightley is fabulous: she looks fantastic, and fills the role with eroticism and oodles of sexual energy. I know people get hot or cold on her, but I find her an appealing actress: one of the bests from her generation. We see a three dimensional Anna here: someone who fell in love, fought for her love, and suffered the consequences. (I hope she gets accolades for her performance)  Jude Law, too, is great: subtle, stoic, elegantly virtuous. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, looking like a member of Village People, provide just the right electric connection with Knightley, although at times they look too pretty together, each strand of their hair in place, each muscle of their arms color coordinated and perfectly entwined. There were times that the visuals seemed to be a little claustrophobic, but that may be just me projecting. It is still just a tad too long for me, I found myself clocking it a moment or two. But, it is still a film I would recommend, because it is just so picture-perfect. Each frame is a postcard perfectly arranged on a stage. The heart is not always there, but it makes an appearance more often than not.

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