Anna Karenina : Keira Knightley as Russia’s most iconic heroine.

Couple of weeks ago the world saw the release of the first trailer for Keira Knightley‘s latest period film in which she takes a role of Leo Tolstoy‘s most renowned and troubled heroine, Anna KareninaThe film is directed by Joe Wright (AtonementPride & Prejudice). As for the rest of the leading cast, we have Jude Law as cuckold Alexei Karenin, Aaron Johnson as charming seducer Court Vronsky and Matthew Macfadyen as Anna‘s brother Oblonsky.

To be frank, it happens to be quite hard to evaluate foreign attempts to personate Russian characters. My Russian origins often lead me to the situations where my judgment focus suddenly gets all hazy.  That is why I wanted to skip on voicing my initial thoughts before I actually saw the full-length movie. Yet, as you can see I finally decided otherwise. Pushing ruthlessness and patriotism aside I promise to be as fair as I can allow myself to be.

Keira’s substantial experience in period cinema makes me want to believe she did well in giving justice to the complex character of Anna Karenina. However, it is also safe to acknowledge that this is, no doubt, the most ambitious part of her career. On top of everything, we are talking about one of the world’s greatest literary masterpieces. In this situation you can never be skeptical enough, can you?

Two and a half minutes of the snippet show that this time Joe Wright has taken exceedingly theatrical approach in visualisation of the novel. Decorative settings of Russian architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries, fancy ball-rooms, theatre stages and of course rich looking costumes so far appear so refined and glamorous. I can almost catch an aesthetic inspired by Baz Luhrmann‘s Moulin Rouge. This on its own can be an exciting and at the same time extremely dangerous prospect. Can anyone beat Luhrmann at his own game? Is theatrical allure and decorative vision of Tolstoy exactly what I should be expecting from the film? Here comes the alarming moment when I stumble into feeling “pessimistic in advance”.

Well let’s not be hasty. Full and elaborate review will have to wait until the film hits the screens in autumn this year. The world premier of the movie will take place in London on the 7th of September.

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2 comments
  1. Nothing to get too excited about. Knightley appears too young to ever even think about playing Karenina. She is perfect for the role of Tatyana in ‘Eugene Onegin’, for example, if we are to consider Russian literature, but Karenina – my gosh, that is one hell of a disaster – its going to be a ‘replay’ of ‘The Duchess’ fiasco. The actor who plays Vronsky also looks like a 17 year old silly boy – oh, well at least unenlightened ‘American’ audience will be treated, as well as tricked, actually.

  2. Thank you for your comment. In truth, I completely agree with you on that. Even though I wanted to refrain from “setting my heart in stone” and any further comments before I actually saw the film in September. The “excitement” I talked about was referring to the visual style purely. However, that also I tend to refuse.. or definitely have mixed feelings about. As for Keira, yes, I can’t see her as Karenina; then again I didn’t except Joe Wright to cast anyone else but her. It’s a vicious circle.

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