Director Joe Wright and actress Keira Knightley's previous collaborations (Pride & Prejudice and Atonement) were certainly beautiful films, in terms of production values and visual style. However, the duo appear to have outdone themselves with their latest period drama adaptation, Anna Karenina.
Oscar-winning screenwriter/playwright Tom Stoppard (Brazil, Shakespeare in Love) penned the script for Wright's take on Leo Tolstoy's 19th century novel - which is widely considered a crowning achievement in literary realism. The film's cast isn't exactly shabby either, including, Knightley, Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes), Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass), Kelly Macdonald (Brave), Matthew Macfadyen (Pride & Prejudice), Ruth Wilson (Luther), Emily Watson (War Horse), and Olivia Williams (Hanna), among other celebrated actors and actresses.
Wright's Anna Karenina retains the original late-19th century Russia "high-society setting" of Tolstoy's novel. It tells the tale of the titular character (Knightley), a woman who maintains a passionless marriage to a well-respected aristocrat twenty years her senior, named Alexei Karenin (Law), in accordance with Russian social norms of the time. However, after sparks fly between Anna and an age-appropriate bachelor named Count Vronsky (Johnson), she gives thought to pursuing her own happiness - even at the high cost that would come with such a decision.
Check out the official poster for Anna Karenina:
CLICK FOR FULL VERSION
As mentioned briefly before, Anna Karenina certainly looks incredible - courtesy of Wright's trusted artistic team: production designer Sarah Greenwood, set decorator Katie Spencer, and costumer designer Jacqueline Durran, who are all Oscar-nominees for their efforts on previous Wright productions. And it's hard to imagine the film could possibly go too wrong, given the director, screenwriter, and ensemble cast. Even Knightley, who has her fair share of detractors (mostly, for her work on the Pirates of the Caribbean series, methinks), tends to do her best work when being supervised by Wright - as evidenced by her Oscar-nomination for Pride & Prejudice.
It probably goes without saying: Anna Karenina isn't the sort of awards-hopeful (re: Oscar bait), period drama that'll appeal to the wider moviegoing masses. All the same: those who enjoyed Wright and Knightley's previous team-ups should definitely consider giving this one a look.
Anna Karenina begins a limited theatrical release in the U.S. on November 9th, 2012.