1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Straight-forward would have been better!,
This review is from: Anna Karenina [DVD] (DVD)
This is a very good film boasting some wonderful performances but there are some flaws which leave an unmissable mark on it. The theatre-stage setting and quick set changes are a little disconcerting and detract from what could have been a swooping spectacle, especially during the race scene.
Keira Knightley is wonderful as Anna Karenina - a woman who follows her heart but is ultimately destroyed by the consequences of her choices. Jude Law is awesome as Karenin, Anna's husband who is absolutely the injured party but his buttoned-down nature provokes sympathy for his younger wife. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is also very good as the young, passionate Count Vronsky (although for my own personal taste, having been a fan of his acting for a while now, his darker colouring is more appealing). Then there are the supporting players and the secondary love story. Matthew Macfadyen is fantastic as Stiva, Anna's rakish brother who offers "romantic advice" to Domhall Gleeson's quiet, forthright Levin - also a lovely performance. Kelly Macdonald is Dolly, Stiva's wronged wife who ultimately accepts her husband, faults and all. Alicia Vikander gives a beautiful performance as Kitty, initially adoring of Vronsky but ultimately Levin's soulmate. It is in the conveying of the two love stories where the film falls flat. The Anna-Vronsky-Karenin story is played out like a pantomime - forced vocal expressions and sudden movements (as in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet) while the Levin & Kitty love story unfolds slowly and uses fewer characters making it the more interesting of the two stories. A good movie which could have matched Joe Wright's "Pride & Prejudice" if the old "if-it-ain't-broken-don't-fix-it adage had been adhered to.