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After directing Keira Knightley in
Pride & Prejudice
, Joe Wright casts her in this left-field adaptation of Tolstoy's epic novel. Knightley does a commendable job of softening the hard edges of the imprudent Russian ingénue married off at 18 to Jude Law's older statesman. She risks her position in 19th-century society and - more controversially - her relationship with their young son to indulge in an affair with the wilful Count Vronsky (a typically moody Aaron Taylor-Johnson). And yet she's upstaged by her director, who draws attention to himself with every frame. There were incongruous camera moves in
Pride & Prejudice
and flashes of surrealism in
, but Wright lays it on thick here, turning this tragedy into a lavish musical - just without the song and dance numbers. Clearly, the artifice is a symbol for the hypocrisy of the upper classes, but it also trivialises the suffering of Karenina in her attempts to overcome it. The end result is a beautiful bore.
The wife of a government official travels to Moscow to save her brother's marriage. Her journey leads to an encounter with a married cavalry officer, with whom she is instantly smitten, and when he follows her home, a passionate affair develops that scandalises the town and drives her husband to desperate ends. Period drama based on Leo Tolstoy's novel, starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
Cast & Crew
Princess Betsy Tverskoy
Countess Lydia Ivanova
Opera House wife
Violence, swearing, sex scenes.
DVD and Blu-ray
7 Sep 2012
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