Joe Wright has always been one of my favorite current directors; Atonement was a film laden with emotional engagement that few films have matched in the last few years and his more recent picture Hanna was an interesting stylish take on the action thriller. Both of these films demonstrate a director not only able to build complex narratives, but to do so with visual innovation and control.
Now comes Anna Karenina, a bold interpretation on Leo Tolstoy's masterwork. Wright originally set out to make the film in traditional locations, but budget constraints forced him to set his sights on something smaller; in the process he came up with something bigger. His concept sets the work in a theater and it provides a solid metaphor to examine the façade behind 19th century Russian society where appearances dominated people's lifestyles and those who chose to break away from the rules of the infrastructure were cast out like lepers. The main heroine is one such pariah and her decline from the model citizen to an outcast is one of the most complex and satisfying ever written. Continue Reading