I was at a local mall yesterday to see the new version of the movie "Anna Karenina". It is a movie I have seen before when Greta Garbo played the role of Anna. I saw it as a child and the tragedy of Anna's story made such an impact on me that I never forgot the film.
Many years later, I read the book while on a journey to Kenya. I enjoyed the book very much though I felt it was overly long. Of course this classic, by Leo Tolstoy, was translated from Russian into English and that likely had a bearing on the length of the book too.
If you take the time to view both the original trailer for the film and the trailer for the latest remake, you will see just how differently the films were marketed to the public.
The actors Jude Law, as Aleksei Karenin the, husband to Anna, as played by Keira Knightley, are superb. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, plays Count Vronsky, Anna's love interest, but I don't think he fully succeeded in bringing his character to life. He looked great in his military uniform and carried himself well as a Count and as a cavalry officer. But I did not feel a depth to the character that Count Vronsky needed to portray so we can understand why Anna would throw away her life for him. In the book you get a better sense of why Anna finds him irresistibly attractive.
The other thing I did not like about the film is that it is set in a theatre. This means you are constantly watching set changes glide in and out of the screen while you are trying to follow the story line, The sets are absolutely beautiful, but I personally did not like this approach. I found it all quite distracting and unsatisfying. When Count Vronsky falls off his stead at the racetrack, I would have far rather watched him ride his horse on a real track rather than on the theatre stage. The theatrical approach worked for some of the film but overall I don't think it really worked for most of the story. Finally, some of the actors, like the one who played Ann's brother, Steva, had a "campy" approach to his character and I don't think it was the right approach for the tone of the story which is rather serious.
The way this film is shot in a theatre and with some over the top, actors reminded me a lot of the film "Moulin Rouge". However, "Moulin Rouge" was a musical and I loved it. "Anna Karenina" is not a musical and I didn't love it. By the time two hours had passed, I was tired and eager to get out of the theatre but there was still more film to see.
I wouldn't discourage you from seeing this film. Unlike me, you might actually enjoy the theatre setting. You will definitely find the costumes and sets both sumptuous and beautiful. In addition, the tragic story of the consequences of illicit love does come through strongly as a result of the marvellous acting of Jude Law and Keira Knightley.
While at the mall I was also fortunate to have seen a surprise dance performance. I managed to capture it on video and will be sharing it in a few days. Please come back and check it out as it is rather unique and will be a treat for you.