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Anna Karenina [DVD]

3.4 out of 5 stars 309 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson
  • Directors: Joe Wright
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Arabic, Icelandic, Polish, Russian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian
  • Dubbed: Russian, Polish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Feb. 2013
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (309 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,214 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Anna Karenina is acclaimed director Joe Wright’s bold, theatrical new vision of the epic story of love, stirringly adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s great novel by Academy Award winner Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love). The film marks the third collaboration of the director with Academy Award-nominated actress Keira Knightley and Academy Award-nominated producers Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Paul Webster, following their award-winning box office successes Pride & Prejudice and Atonement. The timeless story powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart, while illuminating the lavish society that was imperial Russia.

The year is 1874. Vibrant and beautiful, Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) has what any of her contemporaries would aspire to: she is the wife of Karenin (Jude Law), a high-ranking government official to whom she has borne a son, and her social standing in St. Petersburg could scarcely be higher. She journeys to Moscow after a letter from her philandering brother Oblonsky (Matthew Macfadyen) arrives, asking for Anna to come and help save his marriage to Dolly (Kelly Macdonald). En route, Anna makes the acquaintance of Countess Vronsky (Olivia Williams), who is then met at the train station by her son, the dashing cavalry officer Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). When Anna is introduced to Vronsky, there is a mutual spark of instant attraction that cannot--and will not--be ignored.


Talk about setting yourself a tough task. Director Joe Wright, off the back of acclaim for earlier films such as Hanna and Atonement, decided to plump for an adaptation of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. Adapted, with some wise excisions, by Tom Stoppard, the story is set in 1874, and centres on the title character, played by Keira Knightley. Anna is in a respectable marriage, and yet succumbs to temptation when she embarks on an affair, risking her social standing as she does so. Also, there's the small matter of her brother, played by Matthew Macfayden, who has marital infidelities of his own on his mind.

Wright decides to juggle and frame this potentially complex narrative by use of theatre. Literally, as it happens, as his take on Anna Karenina uses the location of a theatre extensively and creatively to tell its tale. It doesn't always work, but it does usually engage, and the production design is simply exquisite.

There's no shortage of quality performances here too, with Knightley strong in the lead role, and Jude Law excellent as her husband. Perhaps the real star here though is the director himself. Anna Karenina may not always fully gel, but it's a fascinating, engaging adaptation of a rarely-tackled text. Wright's audio commentary is well worth a listen, too... --Jon Foster

By filming Leo Tolstoy's timeless novel as a series of theater pieces that play out across stages and catwalks, Joe Wright extracts Anna Karenina from the dusty pages of history. In her third collaboration with the filmmaker, Keira Knightley portrays the St. Petersburg aristocrat as a woman who loves her son, Sergei, more than her husband, Alexei Karenin (Jude Law). On a trip to Moscow, she meets Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), whose Snidely Whiplash mustache spells trouble, even as his sky-blue eyes prove impossible to resist. Wright contrasts their passionate union with the less cataclysmic concerns of Anna's sister-in-law, Dolly (Boardwalk Empire's Kelly Macdonald), whose capacity for forgiveness puts Alexei to shame, and Levin (Harry Potter's Domhnall Gleeson), who never gives up on Dolly's sister, Kitty (Alicia Vikander), even after she rejects him in hopes of a more glamorous future. When the affair between Anna and Vronsky becomes public, Tolstoy's antiheroine risks losing everything, but as readers know: she just can't help herself. Though Shakespeare in Love screenwriter Tom Stoppard ties together a colorful galaxy of characters who orbit around the photogenic central couple, the secondary performers provide the more deeply grounded performances, particularly Law and Gleeson. And for all the stylized, Douglas Sirk-inspired melodrama, Knightley's Pride & Prejudice costar, Matthew Macfadyen, who plays Dolly's wayward husband, lightens the mood whenever he utters one of his clever quips. If it isn't completely successful, Wright's reinvention is frequently quite dazzling--much like the genuine Chanel diamonds that illuminate Knightley's porcelain complexion. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Sept. 2012
Format: DVD
Since it is impossible to do justice in a two hour film to such a celebrated classic, with its focus on inner thoughts, it is probably a good decision to try a different take, in this case the ploy of setting most of the scenes in a theatre, not just on the stage but in the wings, the walk-ways above the podium, the stalls and so on.

So, the audience is watching a film of a play of a book. This has the benefit of conveying a sense of the restrictions and conventions which may have driven Anna to "break out" and give expression to her love for Vronsky, but which also made it impossible for her to be accepted by society afterwards. On the other hand, the theatrical confines may make some scenes seem too stylised, artificial and therefore less moving e.g. the whispered gossip and disapproval of Anna's affair. I was also often unconvinced by the frequent technique of freezing minor characters into the pose of statues, to highlight say, the image of Anna and Vronsky falling in love as they dance together in a world of their own.

I was glad not to need subtitles, since many scenes are quite visually complex, requiring close attention to pick up all the fleeting impressions used to convey a good deal. Tom Stoppard's script is very effective, clear and unpretentious. I could hear every word, which is often not the case. There are some striking scenes such as a horse race in the theatre in which an audience becomes a crowd of real people, only to be replaced by characters painted on a stage backdrop.

All the actors perform well.
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I had already seen the reviews of this film so was prepared for the somewhat odd theatrical take on it. Having read the book many many years ago I went with an open mind, but to be honest I found the overall effect to be strange and somewhat disengaging. There was undoubted spectacle about it, and from a visual perspective some scenes were stunning, but at the end of the day I found the film disjointed and difficult to follow as it seemed to jump between the conventional and the surreal.

Keira Knightley looking predictably stunning in some wonderful costumes, is sadly not a convincing character actress as I find I can never forget I am watching Keira rather become immersed in the character she is portraying(very much the same about her role as Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice)

I was unprepared for Jude Laws knock out performance as the tormented Karenin. I have never been a great fan of this actor, but I honestly believe his performance is award worthy. Unlike Keira Knightleys 'Anna', Jude Law became the personification of his character, and the film was worth watching for his performance alone. Matthew McFaddyn was also a delight to watch as Annas errant brother

Sadly, I left the cinema feeling oddly unmoved, and feeling that the movie could have given audiences much more.
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Anna Karenina (DVD + Digital Copy + UV Copy)I used to think that you could say what you like about director Joe Wright, but he never let his artistry get in the way of telling the story. My opinion, after watching this, is: you can say what you like about Joe Wright.
As a young man, I read this classic story of a high-class, 19th-century, Russian woman who dumps her husband, a highly respected public official, for a young military officer. I was probably too inexperienced in life to fully appreciate it at the time, so I was looking forward to seeing Wright's masterly handling of it. I knew that his was an unusual take on it, with most of the action taking place in a run-down theatre, but I trusted him not to metaphorically dance in front of the camera shouting, "Hey, look, everybody, at what a fantastic director I am!" I was wrong.
Though lavish and demonstrating Wright's appreciation for good music, it was so stagey that at times I thought I was watching a ballet. He re-uses some ideas from his earlier films; we get a scene with Anna and Vronsky dancing together as if they are alone in the room, which is a rehash of a scene between Elizabeth and Darcy in Pride and Prejudice but without the brilliance with which that scene was handled. I didn't get any handle on who Anna was, or why she would fall for someone who still seemed wet behind the ears. At her best, Keira Knightley can act, but this isn't her best. You'd think Aaron Taylor-Johnson could look the part of a dark, handsome fellow for whom Anna might fall (although sounding it is another matter), so why he plays Vronsky as practically a blond is beyond me.
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I find Keira Knightly cold. She was just right in Atonement playing a cold and beautiful young woman, and possible in Pirates of the Carribean where she played a cold and beautiful and screechy young woman. It may have something to do with her voice which seems to have no low notes and always a breathy Essex is it? accent. Wicked snow queen would be perfect for her.

Why then has she been chosen to play Elizabeth Bennet whose warmth and humour unfroze Mr.Darcy and the embodiment of passion, Anna Karenina?

Both these great novels don't make sense unless the heroine is a woman, not a girly, with a strong and complex character. Otherwise the strong and passionate men who love them would not be interested. Even Vronsky, the least cerebral of the three men tells Anna that he was put off at first thinking that she was 'just a frou frou'.
Beauty was not enough for them. They were searching for warmth. That's why all we imperfect women dream of being their object of desire; because these men look for something more.

I think she was merely smart in Pride and Prejudice and nearly the same here, a Barbie doll who only becomes convincing when she is being really nasty. Anna is a married woman, a mother, a loving sister. She has developed emotions and a passionate nature. At the end she is not simply bonkers but unable to put the passion back in the box; a real woman torn in many directions with too many conflicting loyalties. We see nothing of that in this adaptation and without that it is simply a film 'based on' Tolstoy's novel.

The acid test is that in both films we end up really sorry for the men involved that they have wasted their profound love, thrown aside what has always been important to them to end up with this pert child.

A beautiful film, brilliantly acted by all the men.
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