Ok so we went to go see this on Wednesday (Orange Wednesday) I have seen the posters and adverts for the past few months and had become a part of the hype about it, even though I have no idea about what it was about. All I knew it was a period drama film with Keira Knightley in, and that was enough for me.
So this is about a beautiful woman in high society, married young and gets caught by the eye of another man. Seemingly what a lot of period films seem to be about. However. The way that this is filmed is stunning. Without reading the novel of which the film is based I only knew that it had something to do with a theatre and that parts are filmed in it from the trailers. The way that the entire film is set within an old, beautiful wooden theatre is amazing. I don’t think I have ever seen a film shot so well. Scenes would merge into one another, flowing into one another instead of stop starting like the majority of films are shot. The attention to detail of the actors moving around the set, switching scenes while us the audience watched and took it all in, was like actually sitting watching a theatrical production. Bank employees would move with the camera panning round, moving tables from a scene inside a bank with the hustle and bustle and then it would become a beautiful restaurant and they would become the waiters and waitresses. I was glued to my seat.
The period costume is out of this world, some of the pieces that Knightley wore were sublime and just depicted the complete opulence of the time. Every detail was caught through to her jewelry and hats. This is the same across the board. Costume in the film deserves all the awards that they are handed. All cast members were instantly defined into class and standing through what they were wearing in the 19th Century and this was depicted throughout the film. This filters through to the amazing set. How they conceived turning this into a film and being able to shoot everything within a theatre is outstanding. Crystal chandeliers slowly dropping from the ceiling towards the ballroom floor and a dance commences around them to a complete horse race across the stage and a steam train pulling into the theatre as if it were Kings Cross station. Unbeliveable.
On top of the beauty of the way it was shot, the acting matched this. I had heard several reviews before watching and had heard how Jude Law was brilliant in this film. It took several scenes to realise that the husband was actually him. He plays the calm natured devoted husband of a seemingly wayward beautiful woman amazingly. I don’t think he puts a foot wrong the entire film, if anyone wishes to see a stand out performance from a lead male then I think this could be a winning role for him. The rest of the cast keep the film alive with well acted parts and side stories that interweave with each other from the very beginning, keeping you guessing what is going to happen next and to whom.
It is however Knightley that what the film is about. She plays Karenina beautifully. I think it is her best role to date. I am a huge fan and can openingly say her pout drives me mad, but there are very few moments in the entire film I saw a glimmer of one. She became the part entirely. Anna Karenina was the epitome of elegance and class and this is exactly what was brought in this lead role. She covered every emotion and put the audience through the pain and heart ache of being caught in a marriage you no longer wish to be in and being in love with someone who breaks your heart.
I can personally say this may have become my new favourite period film. I cannot speak about it more highly. I may have to go and see it again. Whether it’s for the storyline, acting or the sublime cinematography. Beautiful.