Having detoured from tasteful literary adaptations like Pride & Prejudice into techno-scored mayhem with last year’s killer Hanna, Joe Wright is now back in the classics biz, with a Tom Stoppard-scripted take on Anna Karenina, which opens Friday.
My review is at Film Journal International:
All the world’s a stage in this highly self-aware yet free-flowing take on Tolstoy’s great novel of doomed romance and the thorny collision of ideals with the world of real humans. Joe Wright’s exciting take will divide audiences, but for those who go along for the ride, they’ll thrill at how it blows their hair back. Instead of moving from one stately mansion to the next, Wright sets most of his scenes inside the same grand but vaguely decrepit theatre, with obvious backdrops and stage props, adding music and elaborate choreography to further stylize the action. It can be read as a statement on the highly artificial world that the Russian aristocracy had entrapped itself in, circa 1874, or a device heightening the novel’s already potent melodrama…
You can see the trailer here: