Joe Wright‘s Anna Karenina is the first of the three most highly anticipated adaptations of this season and perhaps the year. I am personally ecstatic about all three and will be standing in line in the freezing cold to make sure I get the chance to cry bitter tears at this tragic retelling in a cushy butter aroma filled theater.
Official Synopsis: The timeless story powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart, while illuminating the lavish society that was imperial Russia. The time is 1874. Vibrant and beautiful, Anna Karenina has what any of her contemporaries would aspire to; she is the wife of Karenin, a high-ranking government official to whom she has borne a son, and her social standing in St. Petersburg could scarcely be higher. She journeys to Moscow after a letter from her philandering brother Oblonsky arrives, asking for Anna to come and help save his marriage to Dolly . En route, Anna makes the acquaintance of Countess Vronsky , who is then met at the train station by her son, the dashing cavalry officer Vronsky. When Anna is introduced to Vronsky, there is a mutual spark of instant attraction that cannot – and will not – be ignored.
Cast: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Matthew McFayden, Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Trailer: Anna Karenina
Premiere: The film released in the UK over the summer and will drop in the US, this week on November 16.
Original Work: Lest you think Wright had a bright idea, and created something wholly new, you must know that Anna Karenina is adapted from the work of novelist Leo Tolstoy (The Death of Ivan Illyich, War and Peace). The story has had several film adaptions dating back to Vladamir Gardin’s 1914 film. The book itself is deemed as the best novel ever written. The range of topics and sheer transparency of characters and struggles, leaves this story in great elevation of most penned to date.
Thoughts: AK is an exciting venture, for it’s always wonderful to bring literary works to life. And having this story on-screen for this generation is a treasure. The story speaks of youth, glitz and glamour along with emotional entanglements and political and social dealings that never feel stale or worn. It’s characters are ones that anyone can identify with but never quite condone, which makes for a tale that reflects reality in ways that are both frightening and exhilarating. Wright as a director, always seems to breathe new life and perspective into the stories we’ve read all our lives and opens up it’s world in ways we haven’t seen on-screen. The story is a pretty lofty task but the visuals are breathtaking.
For purists, like myself, a Wright film, may not be your best choice if it’s your first experience with AK, however, I suggest a brief study before viewing, just to identify his minor tweaks to well known and droned conjecture.