‘Anna Karenina,’ From Joe Wright, With Keira Knightley

Bad conversions are similar, but each successful conversion is successful in its own way. The bad things – or let’s just say the common things, save the ideas of the wig makers and language teachers – are overshadowed by the modesty, with a worrying reduction in the cultural dignity of the document. The good guys won through hubris, through the arrogant belief that a great novel is not a sacred picture but a collection of interesting things to be done as the filmmaker wants.

The British manager Joe Wright has thought me – until now – of the low-quality side. His screen versions of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and Ian McEwan’s “Atonement” are not scary, just cautious and responsible. For all their technical skill and the fine academic discipline of their cast, those films have become a staple in the literature. Instead of strong and complex explanations, they offer crib stories and a gentle exercise in modeling. As proof of their mediocrity, admirers of Austen or Mr. McEwan is the subject of the appeal.

“Anna Karenina” is different from Mr. It is dangerous and demanding to be counted as an art education, and with great confidence to win in its own – amazing – crazy language. Devout Tolstoyans may furrow their brows at the stylistic liberties Mr. Wright and the cartoonist, Tom Stoppard, but of course, Tolstoy can withstand (and perhaps benefit from) their playfulness and the enthusiasm of his masterpiece.

The challenge of “Anna Karenina” is the great series and Tolstoy’s pocket of the novel is bigger, bigger than the size: it is broad. It runs among its many characters, reads their thoughts and explains their desires, the book becomes a panorama of the entire population, you can say a whole character. “Anna Karenina” could not have been made, as the film’s voice-overs say, “in a world” of such and such diversity. The book lives on in the world, in the great work of modern Imperial Russia in the middle of the 19th century, there is everything that Tolstoy knew. The attempt to recreate that world according to the canons of the 21st-century movie realism reduces and falsifies its story, rising through cultural and social details in the form of worldview. .

The best gamble Mr. The cities of Moscow and St. (Sarah Greenwood is the production designer.) The characters work their way around props, past painted backdrops and through catwalks, ropes and back spins. You get the feeling that in these bureaucratic offices, ministerial meetings and aristocratic families, everyday life is a kind of theater. To play your part in this intricately hierarchical group, you have to say your lines, hit your marks, know your place and watch out for improvisation.

But the film itself is the very opposite of stagy. The camera pans through scenes as if it’s following hunger; The colors of the upholstery and the wardrobes match with the feeling; the music (by Dario Marianelli) screams and mourns and the performances are fresh, energetic and lively. Covers the main events of Tolstoy’s thousand pages In two fast and moving hours, Mr.

Keira Knightley is the ultimate diva, her hair black, her cheeks covered and her slender body encased in dresses like satin mood rings. We sometimes talk about films that have arcs, but Anna Karenina is more like a human wave box, rising and falling according to the contradictions of its character. The loyal, sweet wife of a cold and good government official (played with heartbreaking emotion by Jude Law), Anna goes from St. he cheated on his wife Dolly (Kelly Macdonald).

Oblonsky’s adultery represents the most famous infidelity in the novel, although his philandering is relatively minor compared to the affair Anna pursues with Count Vronsky, a young military officer. I think you can see the negative effect, but Mr. Wright, like Tolstoy, includes everything that happened between Anna’s first meeting with Vronsky and her last meeting with the wheels of a train. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, with curly blond hair, a white suit and the kind of beard that melts hearts in an Upper West Side bar circa 1974, turns Vronsky into an enigma. beautiful and provocative. He has the eyes of a poet, but it’s hard to shake the suspicion that he is, at heart, a shallow hedonist controlled by his overbearing mother (Olivia Williams).

Vronsky’s inability to be perfect for Anna is a source of painful memories of their former happiness. Their day of promiscuity is followed by punishment, protection and punishment. But Anna-Vronsky folie à deux is not the only story “Anna Karenina” tells. “Why do they call it love?” asked Dolly’s younger sister, Kitty, in a sort of girlish condescension. His sister replies, “For love,” and the entire film can be taken as a deconstruction of this apparent tautology – as a study of the nature of love.

Kitty, a young woman of irresistible beauty played by the Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, adored by Levin, is the owner of a bright red country estate. (Harry Potter fans will be delighted to see Domhnall Gleeson, the original Bill Weasley, in this role.) Levin is widely known as Tolstoy’s successor, and his concept of love – that the pure, ennobling union of souls — that is. a perfect retribution to the tyranny that plagues the cities. When he visits Levin, the film changes the scenes of the theater for a nature song, evoking the fresh air of the open fields and the scents of a wooden manor house.

Levin’s strong virtue – his loyalty to Kitty based on his belief in social justice and his faith in God – stands in contrast to Oblonsky’s self-deprecating self-indulgence, Karenin’s seriousness and Vronsky’s swooning maturity. And “Anna Karenina,” despite the difficult woman at its center, is in many ways a lesson in the ways of masculinity. This is partly because the world represented is a world where, as is understood, the rules are made for men and fathers. Men act and choose, while women suffer, wait and watch.

How do you measure the distance between those worlds – it’s natural if you’re reading Tolstoy; which is built if you are watching the movie Mr. Mr. Stoppard and Mr. Wright to “Anna Karenina” and his heroine to the gods of melodrama, who welcomed him with joy. But their films, wild and emotional as they are, don’t have the depth and resonance of tragedy that elevates them above the good (by which I mean the best). ). In the end you can be suspicious, touchy and a little tired. But really, you should feel like you’ve been hit by a train.

“Anna Karenina” is rated R (Under 17 requires parent or guardian). A lot of sex, but with (very old) clothes.

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