Leo Tolstoy’s worlds are beautiful and elaborate, and pick out on the minute details of Russian high society. More so the pretentious and elite shenanigans of the same. How he is that efficient at pin pointing the entitled details behind the elite behaviour, he alone knows. Anna Karenina is one example for the same, making for a beautiful, skilfully created movie that can leave you in a haze when you complete it.
There’s always a thing about movies based on books – the readers can never stop comparing and stating how the book is simply always better. And it’s true; writing allows so much more creative freedom than movies allow in execution. So for the first time, I went in to a movie based on a book without reading the book before to see how it works for me. Anna Karenina did not disappoint.
It has a unique theatrical style of storytelling that perhaps won’t appeal to everyone. From the very first scene, it reminded me of Shakespeare’s ‘All the world’s a stage and all men and women merely players’. It keeps the dramatic tone going until the very end. Anna is the prominent player here, and this story is all about how great a price she pays for choosing love over her formerly granted social status.
Leo Tolstoy’s elite world is a major challenge for a film maker to bring to life. And his characters are carefully created; especially Anna, one of the most famous fallen leads of all time. Keira Knightley is a delightful Anna, supported by Jude Law and Aaron Taylor as her two romantic counterparts. Joe Wright’s approach to Anna and her pity inducing decisions in life has been theatrical, aesthetic and easy flowing. It almost convinces you to not want to go to the book anymore because you feel like Joe Wright might have just said it all. And you can see why Anna Karenina has been one of the most celebrated tragic heroines of all time.