Film Review: Anna Karenina

They say "never start with an apology," so I'm sorry to have to do this. I went to see the new film version of Anna Karenina without reading the original book by Tolstoy. It's just that I'm a slow reader in my 30s, there's a strong chance I would've died with this as my great unfinished film review.

The new Joe Wright version starring Keira Kinghtley and Jude Law; it's the story of infidelity and its affects on some Russian aristocracy in 1870. On the way to the screening I was hearing news reports about state of the UK economy and it's hard to care about the plight of some rich, very dead, people. But this film soon draws you in and you realise it's not about their situation, it's about the emotions we all have. If everyone who had or considered having an affair went to see this film it would be the biggest grossing picture of all time. Heck, even Jude Law would have to pay to see himself.

While it is a film based on a book, the style of the film is more like a play. The scene transition are often done by the extras moving the scenery around. At the start this feels like a gimmick to make this not just another period drama (keeping Knightley employed) but when the pace picks up it's a nice way to convey how swept up in it all the characters are. Wright shows us that all the world is a stage, it's just a shame Tolstoy wasn't the one who coined it or it would've been a very clever directorial trick.

Jude Law is the one doing the acting masterclass in this as he rarely gets to raise his voice but shows all the emotions bubbly under. I wonder what he draws on to play someone who is forgiving of infidelity? Hmm. Maybe the end of his relationship with Sienna was just method acting way in advance.

It's nice to see Brits who aren't all playing super villains. OK they're playing Russians, but it's a step in the right direction. And it is a long film, but it's written by the guy who wrote War And Peace so what was I expecting?

It's interesting more than gripping and it's basically an artistic and well acted Jeremy Kyle Show. But it has good morals without ever being preachy.

See the pictures and interviews from the Anna Karenina premiere here.

Anna Karenina is out on September 7th. You can hear my full review on the Sunny and Shay Show on BBC London, this Saturday at 9:30pm.


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