When I first heard that Joe Wright was directing a new adaptation of Anna Karenina, the landmark novel by Leo Tolstoy, I was intrigued but strangely unmoved. Wright has proven himself a masterful director of both classic literature and period piece dramas, but after the stellar Hanna I was vaguely distressed that he was treading old ground.
Then I heard that Wright was going to be shooting the film in an experimental style that would involve most of the action taking place on a stage, with environments bleeding into one another. This news heartened me, and of course discovering that the film would be adapted by stellar playwright Tom Stoppard only heightened my excitement.
Now we have a trailer to examine that, thankfully, leaves me feeling even more enthusiastic.
Of course this trailer is cut like the common romantic drama, with some of the more societal reverberations of the story shuffled off to the side, but already I can see the bones of the novel I love so much underneath the flash. Anna (Keira Knightley) and Vronsky (Aaron Johnson) seem to have a pretty powerful chemistry, and while Levin (Domnhall Gleeson) and Kitty (Alicia Vikander) are shuffled to the side in the trailer, I get the sense from the brief clips we see that they will still play a role. Not only that, but Jude Law as Anna’s husband Alexei is chillingly similar to how I pictured him in the book.
So long as the social critiques of the book and the emotional resonance of the story are left untampered (and I do get the feeling that this trailer purposefully elided them), I see this being a visually interesting and appropriately modern adaptation of a classic novel.
Start reading now, Anna Karenina hits theaters November 9, 2012.