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Anna Karenina (2012)

Duration2h 9m
RatingsUK: 12A, USA: R, Denmark: 11 
Source of storyA book of the same name by Leo Tolstoy
DirectorJoe Wright
Writers/ScriptTom Stoppard
StarringMatthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Olivia Williams, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Holliday Grainger, Ruth Wilson, Emily Watson, Michelle Dockery, Bill Skarsgård, Cara Delevingne, Shirley Henderson, Vicky McClure
RatingsIMDb: 6.6/10 by 100,317 people .  Rotten Tomatoes: 63% by 193 reviewers. Review2view: 5.9/10

 Summary: It is 1874 in Czarist Russia. Anna Karenina, a socialite, is married to Alexei Karenin a chilly older man. On a trip to Moscow to see her brother Prince Oblonsky she becomes acquainted with Count Vronsky, a young cavalry officer and after a bit of tooing and froing they become lovers. Meanwhile Kostya Levin, a friend of Oblonskys pursues and is initially rejected by Princess Kitty Alexandrovna. In time Anna becomes pregnant and admits to her husband that she in involved with Vronsky, hence causing him to demand a divorce. Time passes Anna gives birth and is distanced from Vronsky, but the game is not over, Anna must face the future with or without Vronsky and in either case she may become a social outcast.

Content: There is sex, but artistically presented in a non-confrontational way. Also some drinking and smoking of cigars. But the main aspect of the film to consider is the presentation. Nearly all scenes seem to take place in a theatre, sometimes on stage with an audience in the auditorium, sometimes in the flies of the theatre and sometimes in the auditorium which is expanded into parts of buildings such as ballrooms or bits of the countryside. At one point a horse race takes place on stage. Where trains are involved they are usually, visibly, models. It is very clever. Within this format all the characters interact sometimes in a comic way. In Oblonsky’s office for instance myriad employees rhythmically stamp documents.

A View:  Wow, a bit of an epic production presented in an amazingly clever way. Keira Knightley was feted for her performance, but by now we have become used to her acting tics and we got the full catalogue in this film. I had a job to tell who was who, and even after reading the Wikipedia plot description I was still a bit in the dark. That’s the trouble with Russian names in 1874. They are long and complicated. I just about managed with the two lovers and the spurned husband but the rest, decorative and pretty but who the hell are they? So in summary, this is a production not to be viewed lightly. If you choose to watch it be prepared to be perplexed.

I have looed for reviews of films including Keira Knightley on this site and find that I have mostly dissed them. However, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is not bad and Pride and Prejudice is fine. She does excel in the terrific period piece The Duchess.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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