Cinema for Steampunks: Anna Karenina (2012) Review

This tragic story of love and betrayal gets a breathtaking reimagining as a hybrid film and stage production.

I’ve never read Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. And after watching this incredible rendition, I don’t see how the book could top it. The story originally ran as a serial between 1873-1877 in Russia.

What I thought of Anna Karenina

Though Anna’s husband (played by Jude Law) only wants her to be happy, he is cold and can also never seem to reach her (Keira Knightly). The film depicts this tragic story of a woman unable to resist the temptation of a dashing count. Anna’s emotional journey is the crux of the story, so if you don’t like character-driven stories this one won’t be for you.

On the other hand, the cinematography of this film is outstanding. The filmmakers somehow manage to bring together elements of both movies and the stage. This even includes stagehands who rearrange the furniture in between scenes. The setting moves flawlessly between real places and stage sets. Plus, it employs every inch of the theater to do it! My favorite was the scene that took place on the street, but was actually staged in the rigging and catwalks above the stage. Other times, the theater appears to have been gutted, and in place of the seats the characters twirl between chandeliers.

Sad ending or no, this has to be one of the most beautifully constructed films I have ever seen. So, if you need a break from action and adventure, and you just want to see something pretty, I couldn’t recommend this enough.

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