In the want of high culture my Monday night film club took me and the ladies of the family to the world of Russian hypocrisy and the film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina. Set in the nineteen hundreds, we find Anna trying to save her brothers marriage when her own is on the rocks. As she goes against the rules of society and embarks on a risky love affair, falls pregnant and chooses her lover over her husband, she finds herself being pushed from the high society she was once a part of and unable to find peace of mind in her new life.
Keira Knightley takes on the dramatic role of Anna Karenina and as no stranger to the world of periodic drama she plays the character beautifully. She captures the weakness of what was once a strong Russian socialite, giving a chilling performance of a now shunned outcast of society. Both Jude Law and Aaron Taylor-Johnson give spectacular performances as the heartbroken and embarrassed Aleksei Karenin and the charming, sly dog of a man Count Vronsky. For me, Jude Law made my skin crawl, his usual handsome good looks are hidden by a hideous (but very time appropriate) beard, but his acting is as always, exceptional; my mother on the other hand found him very appealing!
The film itself has a very Black Swan feel to it, dark, mysterious and haunted by the characters actions. The characters lives, living in the spotlight of high-society Russia, are reflected through a clever piece of filmography; the set being made up of a theatre stage where the film is played out for all to see. It ties in well adding to the pressures of life at the top of the social hierarchy.
An epic tale of love and betrayal; showing that no matter how much time goes by, we can still be tormented by the same heart-rending problems. Hats off to Joe Wright and his take on the classic novel.
‘I think … if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.’ – Anna Karenina, Book 2, Chapter 7.