Anna Karenina: Train in Vain

by Ethan Alter November 16, 2012 4:06 pm
<i>Anna Karenina</i>: Train in Vain

As with any new cinematic adaptation of a frequently-filmed Great Novel, the biggest challenge facing the makers of Anna Karenina -- the umpteenth film to be derived from Leo Tolstoy's enduring 19th century romance -- is convincing moviegoers that they really need to see the same story told again. Director Joe Wright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard's method of persuasion is to inject a surfeit of audacious theatricality into a novel that modern audiences might consider stodgy and old-fashioned (wrongly, of course, but that's a separate issue). In their conceit, the woeful tale of the titular Russian socialite (played by Keira Knightley, in her third collaboration with Wright) plays out within the confines of a period-appropriate theater, which constantly morphs and changes to become its own world. The motivating idea seems to be that since Anna's tragic story unfolds on a very public stage, the other characters function as both players in -- and spectators to -- her downfall. It's an intriguing approach that's executed with impressive showmanship, but it also inadvertently misses what's at the core of the book: passion.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 19, 2013

by Ethan Alter February 19, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ben Affleck strains to think up new "Argo [bleep] yourself" jokes.

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