Jonathan Fryer

Anna Karenina

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 14th September, 2012

The suspension of disbelief is an essential element of the relationship between an audience and any play or film. But some productions require more suspension than others. Joe Wright’s new take on Tolstoy’s great novel Anna Karenina — with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard — straddles this complex late 19th century Russian fictional world by employing a variety of genres: part theatre, part cinema, part mime and part dance. The film obliges the viewer to surrender to its own rules, or else leave. Of course one is bowled over by the sumptuousness of the décor and the costumes, as well as by the beauty of the actors; Keira Knightley is a very different Anna from Greta Garbo, but one can understand the jealousy she could arouse, the passion and the dismay. Jude Law, as her wronged husband, is dignified and grave. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Count Vronsky) has had his hair dyed an angelic gold. It is all very stylised, maybe too much so at times. But there are images that linger in the mind, troublingly, as they do (far more profoundly) after reading the novel itself.

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