Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

Adaptation of Tolstoy's stirring tale of love and marriage in imperial Russia about Anna Karenina, a young wife of an older husband who embarks upon an affair with the handsome Count Vronsky. 3.0 out of 5 based on 14 reviews
Anna Karenina

Omniscore:

Certificate
Genre Drama, Romance
Director Joe Wright
Cast Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, Kelly Macdonald
Studio Universal Pictures UK
Release Date September 2012
Running Time 130 mins
 

Adaptation of Tolstoy's stirring tale of love and marriage in imperial Russia about Anna Karenina, a young wife of an older husband who embarks upon an affair with the handsome Count Vronsky.

Reviews

The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

Law’s ability to humanise the dull but decent Karenin by subtly conveying the feelings of hurt, humiliation and betrayal he feels after Anna falls for Vronsky should rob us of all our sympathy for Anna. Instead it just makes her – and everyone around her – even more tragically human and, as a result, more empathetic. It’s an impressive feat, a technically dazzling experiment that won’t be to everyone’s cinematic tastes, but deserves credit for confounding expectations and, like its heroine, having the nerve to dive headlong into unchartered territory.

06/09/2012

Read Full Review


Empire Magazine

Ian Freer

Despite eye-popping period finery, longing looks a-plenty and Olympic standard fan waving, Anna Karenina militantly doesn’t want to be just another costume drama; it attacks the heavyweight concerns of Russian literature (hypocrisy, jealousy, faith, fidelity, the pastoral vs. the urban, huge moustaches) with wit and verve; most exciting of all, it is filmmaking of the highest order, channeling every other art form from painting to ballet to puppetry while remaining completely cinematic.

04/09/2012

Read Full Review


The Observer

Philip French

The death of the wheel-tapper, accidentally trapped under a train, is infinitely more affecting and memorable than Anna's suicide that it is carefully set up to foreshadow. This has something to do with the stylised presentation. Our constant admiration for Wright's virtuosity, initially attractive and exciting, ends up as a major distraction. This kind of extreme theatricality is not necessarily unsuited to cinema, but it should not become a barrier to emotional involvement.

09/09/2012

Read Full Review


The Sunday Times

Cosmo Landesman

Tolstoy wanted to explain the difference between carnal lust and true love ... Yet the author’s high-minded notions of what love is make him sound like Professor Roger Scruton — and that invites sniggers from us sophisticated, carnally driven moderns. So Stoppard takes a more neutral position, preferring simply to explore the different faces of love. The film milks the book’s melodrama and carefully avoids any whiff of moralising. Wright wants this to be a big, lush romantic epic about a woman who is doomed by her own desire. If ever there were a story to move us, it’s this one — but it doesn’t. The film is all passion, but emotionally frigid. It leaves you cold.

09/09/2012

Read Full Review


The Daily Telegraph

Tim Robey

“If only” haunts the book as a recurring thought – if only Russian divorce laws were more liberal, for starters. It’s hard to watch Wright’s version without wondering what might have been, if only Knightley had a worthier scene partner than Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Vronsky may be wildly impetuous and lacking in self-knowledge, but he’s never been this callow fool ... and it damages our view of Anna – she’s willing to sacrifice everything for this wooden twerp? Wright, for his part, tries out such virtuoso tricks he calls to mind Orson Welles’s description of cinema as the biggest toy-train set a boy ever had. Like all the rest of us who aren’t Orson Welles, he might want to tread more carefully at the platform edge.

06/09/2012

Read Full Review


Time Out

Guy Lodge

It’s as if Wright has lavished so much energy on reframing the familiar narrative that the story itself has become secondary: everyone may be inside the theatre in this impressive film, but a Russian chill has crept in anyway.

05/09/2012

Read Full Review


The Times

Kate Muir

Wright seems to be so keen to draw attention to the boldness of his directing that the emotional and intellectual power of the story gets short shrift. When Anna first sees Vronsky, big golden sparks actually fly from the train, and when the two make love in the countryside their sun-dappled bonk looks like an advert for The White Company.

05/09/2012

Read Full Review


The Financial Times

Antonia Quirke

I could have watched [Knightley] for days on end, just as I hope to watch her in the three-part Lord of the Rings-scale adaptation of AK that will one day be made. A $2bn adaptation. Three six-hour films. Too much? OK then, two nine-hour films ... Anna Karenina is the one genuine accessible and complete masterpiece we have. More than Moby-Dick or Ulysses or Proust – any idiot can see this is unsurpassed. Which means it needs to be adapted word for word. Put every paragraph, every sentence up there. This isn’t crappy old Dr Zhivago, which needed all the help David Lean could give it. AK is deep. Somebody fork out.

06/09/2012

Read Full Review


The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

The film version skates over that other half of the story which concerns Oblonsky's friend Levin, played by Domhnall Gleeson, a wealthy idealist who has come to town to propose to the beautiful Kitty, also being courted by Vronsky, but deeply wounded and downcast is forced to retreat to his country estates and find some consolation in pursuing a life of simplicity, close to the land and to God. His story is hardly as sensational and dramatic as Anna's, and yet without the mystery of seeing Levin's life juxtaposed with hers — they actually have a connection in the book, not hinted at here — the story loses some of its perspective and its flavour. Gleeson does well in this demanding role, reduced though it is.

05/08/2012

Read Full Review


The Independent

Anthony Quinn

In the film's centre-piece, the state ball where Anna and Vronsky first catch the fire in each other's eyes, the other dancers around them freeze in their poses, isolating the star-crossed pair. Then, heightening the mood, the film ups a gear with a series of whip-pans so frantic you wonder if Anna and Vronsky will fly wildly off the stage in a slapstick pile-up. This trick of theatre and film techniques fused together is very much the Wright stuff, a self-conscious bravura that looks impressive in the moment and rather fades thereafter. You have to ask: what's his game here?

07/09/2012

Read Full Review


The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

The balance between plot and sub-plots is out of kilter, and a wrong-headed decision has been made to stylise the film as though it’s by the 20th century socialist playwright Bertolt Brecht.Joe Wright persuaded screenplay writer Sir Tom Stoppard to set the action within a theatre whenever he wishes to emphasise the stuffy, repressive side of Russian society. When he wants to show passions running riot, he passes through the walls of the theatre to the outside world. The effect ought to be stylish and exhilarating. Instead, it’s clever-clever and alienating, often – with frequent, jarring returns to the theatre, distancing us just when Tolstoy’s story is trying to involve us most.

05/09/2012

Read Full Review


The Independent on Sunday

Tim Walker

By the time Anna meets her own fate, I found it difficult to care.

09/09/2012

Read Full Review


The Evening Standard

David Sexton

All the world’s a stage? No it’s not, actually, you think, perhaps not quite so politely as that, as you watch this charade. Tolstoy’s novel takes you into the very minds and bodies of his characters with minute detail and great patience — they are not ceaselessly histrionic. It doesn’t help that Stoppard has, however expertly, reduced this 1,000 page novel to a series of bullet points and tableaux, in order to get the story done and dusted in a couple of hours. Anna Karenina is so much better suited to be a leisurely, flowing TV serial than this rattling parade of telling postures and smart one-liners.

07/08/2012

Read Full Review


Total Film

Neil Smith

A ponderously artificial, self-regarding work that often feels like Moulin Rouge! without the karaoke. OK, so an enormous amount of thought has gone into transforming Sarah Greenwood’s decaying playhouse set into a railway station, an ice rink and various other locations. The main consequence, alas, is to pull the attention away from where it should be: on doomed heroine Anna (Keira Knightley), a government official’s wife whose pretty head is turned by a dashing cavalry officer

03/09/2012

Read Full Review


©2013 The Omnivore