ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE A theatrical ‘Anna Karenina’ movie
Director Joe Wright’s new version of “Anna Karenina” — at least the 13th film adaptation of the novel since 1914 — transforms Leo Tolstoy’s 900-page doorstop of a 19th-century Russian masterpiece into something that is intended to be playful and light on its feet, for all its heavy themes of adultery and dishonor (not to mention the literal weight of its lavish period costumes).
Wright’s previous movies include respectful and successful adaptations of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” a great book, and Ian McEwan’s “Atonement,” at least a good book. Those movies attempted to faithfully reproduce the visions of the novels’ authors, but — perhaps because “Karenina” has been dramatized so many times before — the director takes an experimental and highly stylized approach to Tolstoy.
Most of the movie is staged in what appears to be the interior of a seatless theater, complete with catwalks, scenic flats that can be raised and lowered, painted curtain backdrops, and so on, to represent the salons, ballrooms, tea rooms and other haunts of upper-crust Moscow and St. Petersburg. The behavior of the characters who inhabit this space is similarly stagy.
Unlike the upcoming Victor Hugo adaptation, “Les Miserables,” “Anna Karenina” is no musical, but the action often is choreographed as if it
Keira Knightley is the tragic Tolstoyan heroine in “Anna Karenina,” playing exclusively at the Ridgeway Four.