Anna Karenina, with Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen & Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Director, Joe Wright. Never having seen a cinematic treatment of this classic & thinking that I was going to enjoy another of my favorite flavors of historical drama, I was taken unawares with the slight twist that the film’s sets were set within the confines of an old theater, partially. At least, as far as transitioning from scene to scene & not necessarily overwhelming the story. The book, I read as a child. A universal tale of self-destruction & obsession without recourse & rehabilitation, is one of my favorite topics. It was interesting, slightly distracting; but not disturbingly so.
Unfortunately, I’d not noticed previously – ever – that Knightley, while being at the top of her game & considered to be an established nova-class star, is not treated well in close-ups, by the camera. It’s troubling to me, that something a bit vulgar can be such an obstacle to attention. In short, she’s a slobber mouth & needs to control her salivary display. I know, it’s petty. But I couldn’t help but notice during one of the most intense scenes that her large teeth, which in & of themselves are just fine & dandy, were dripping with moisture. So sorry to have to mention it. It was obvious & unavoidable. It was grotesque. I love Knightley, but will have to fault the director for this unedited & unacceptable detail. It’s not a failing on Knightley’s part in any way.
The standout brilliance in the film must be Taylor-Johnson. I first noticed the young man in Albert Nobbs, as a supporting actor. Beaming in his minor role, all youth & charisma. His portrayal of Count Vronsky seems to be spot on, in my opinion. It must be an innate fairness in his personality that he didn’t steal any scenes. It certainly wouldn’t have been the director keeping it together. I would assume he’s submissive & a team player. Commendable.
I enjoyed it as a costume drama with a twist. The time honored tale that so many have enjoyed. I recommend the film, despite small & disturbing errors. Knightley, Macfadyen & Taylor-Johnson head an eccentric cast. Worth the watch, I say!
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