It must be hard to translate a 864-page book written in the 1800s into a movie for modern audiences. Anna Karenina is known as one of the greatest works of fiction ever written. It has been made into movies several times, with the most recent one in 1997.
The latest movie version of Anna Karenina is made by stylish director Joe Wright, who is the director of last year’s exciting thriller Hanna. But someone forgot to tell him that he’s not making an action/adventure this time around.
Wright’s opening scenes got a pulsating rhythm that you would feel with an action movie. He combines a classic story with a modern visual style that tends to be distracting. It feels like the director doesn’t have enough confidence in the material and relies on cinematic tricks to keep the viewer glued to the screen.
Anna Karenina will be for the hopeless romantic or a Tolstoy fan. But for the casual viewer, the movie is a tedious one to watch. It is long with its over 2 hour runtime and at times uneventful. Old stories just don’t translate well into the big screen.
Keira Knightley plays the title role. While she is known for her overacting, she shows a lot of restraint as Anna Karenina, a married girl in 1874 who falls for the young Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). She suffers consequences for the love affair. The movie centers on her relationships with the count and her husband Karenin (Jude Law). In the midst of it all is another story involving young soldier (Domhnall Gleeson) and the young Kitty (Alicia Vikander).
Anna Karenina stays faithful with the novel but critics feel that there’s no need to remake the movie. It is a beautiful movie but will be forgotten soon. Joe Wright fails to bring something new to the story that has already been made 11 times before.