Sunday, March 3, 2013

Movie review: "Anna Karenina"

Yesterday I went to movies with my girlfriend to watch "Anna Karenina". It was originally her idea, but I didn't have anything against it.

Even though I was a passionate reader since I was ten, for some reason I (successfully) avoided most of high-school proscribed reading, including "Anna Karenina". I was vaguely familiar with the story, as much as I remembered from a book with short analysis of plot and characters for high-school books, but in general, I didn't know anything about the movie.

The story of "Anna Karenina" is a tragedy, revolving about three central characters in 19th century Russia. Karenin (played by Jude Law) is a high-positioned noble and politician, orthodox, strict but respected for his moral and ethical principles - but at the same time he is shown as cold and distanced, especially toward his family. Anna (Keira Knightley) is his wife, at the beginning of the movie displayed as happy with his marriage and especially their son, and loyal to her husband. She actually reprehends her cousin for being angry at her husband for cheating on her and manipulates her into forgiving him. But this changes after a chance encounter with young and dashing Count Vronsky - a pampered noble with eye for beauty, sweet tongue and flowery manners. An unexpected happens and these two unlikely people fall in love, and later to obsession, which damages their lives and especially Karenin family. There is also a secondary story, dealing with another young and shy noble Levin and his love toward Princess Kitty.

The story is good, but center of this movie is its characters, primary the central trio. As I expected from a renowned literary classic, characters are great and complex. The best notion for me is that no one is described as negative: all three are just people, with their personalities, caught in facts of life, love and passion. Though, I was surprised that at the end I was putting most blame on Anna - I don't know if this was intended by the movie-makers, or it was projected from my own beliefs and personality. I am even tempted to read the book to find out.

I liked the acting, even though I am not fan of Keira Knightley. But even more I liked the semi-breaking of the fifth wall: during the changes of scenes, characters are shown as traveling through theater sets; when important things are happening, supporting characters "freeze". I also liked the costumes and small details about Imperial Russia. The music was very good, even to me who usually don't notice such things.

All in all, I really enjoyed "Anna Karenina". If you don't like romances or dramas, avoid this movie. But for everybody else, the movie is never boring, has great and interesting characters and is very intense.

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