Film Review: Anna Karenina

14 Nov

Film: Anna Karenina

Review:  In this mind-blowing, picturesque, sensual, and highly creative film, Joe Wright has created a MASTERPIECE!  The film is so visually stunning, I was captivated from beginning to end. It’s hard to believe that the majority of the film was shot on a single soundstage at Shepperton Studios in a dilapidated theatre outside of London. The call to set the entire film in a theater was brilliant!

The love story which was adapted from Leo Tolstoy novel Anna Karenina unfolds in the late 19th century Russia. Anna played by Keira Knightley is married to Alexi Karenin who is played by Jude Law.  Alexi is a senior Russian government official and lacking in emotion. Their marriage is loveless and the only fruit it bears is a beautiful son that Anna adores. Starving for affection, Anna is bewitched by Count Vornsky. It’s love at first sight! Neither Anna nor the Count will deny themselves the love they so desire from each other, thus igniting their tumultuous love affair. That’s what happens when you’re forced into a loveless marriage, you try to escape even through “sin.” Princess Kitty also has her eyes set on Count Vorknsy but the feeling is not mutual. He only has eyes for the beautiful and mysterious Anna. Poor Princess Kitty, she never saw it coming. Anna swooped in and stole her man (Count Vorknsy) in 10 seconds flat. Anna is unapologetic about her love for the Count. She considers her love for him to be punishment and torture… for which she will not retreat. The path of forbidden love will surely lead Anna to a life of abandonment – outcast by Russian high society. Alexi (Anna’s husband) does very little to prevent the inevitable. Anna is left to her own self-destruction and in the end there is no saving grace for her. A tragic but epic love story.

The costumes are out of this world. I want them all! The rich colors and luxurious fabric speaks to the great opulence of old world Russia. Keira Knightly had access to $2.2 million dollars of Chanel diamonds while filming. The always talented Jacqueline Durran was the costume designer for this grand movie. Durran is also responsible for the iconic emerald green dress in Atonement. Wright and Durran have worked on several films together, so it was a no brainer that she would curate the costumes for Anna Karenina.

Someone get (cinematographer) Seamus McGarvey an Oscar. The cinematography in this film was beyond magical. It was like watching a Michelangelo painting in motion. Every scene was casted in the most elaborate decorative walls, enormous chandeliers, and glorious tapestry. One of the most epic scenes in the film is the live horse race inside the theater. I’m still trying to figure out how they choreographed “live horses” running at maximum speed on a theater stage, its unreal. This film is as funny as it is beautiful. I’m a HUGE fan of Joe Wright since he’s the brain child behind some of my favorite films, Pride & Prejudice and Atonement. I love Directors who direct a film, leaving traces of their creative DNA during the process. Wright is known for having some of the most exquisite scenery in his films. If you look at all his films Pride & Prejudice and Atonement being the most popular. Both films are peppered with breathtaking scenery. If I had to suggest one film to see before the end of the year Anna Karenina would be my pick. If only for the visual stimulation! This film is a MASTERPIECE!!!

Best line in the movie: You can’t ask Why about love!  – Count Vorknsy

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