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Wright, Knightley, Law: Anna Karenina

Tolstoy warns us that Anna Karenina's story of adultery will be unhappy in his novel's first sentence. Most modern readers don't believe him.

To film the book, Joe Wright "pitched not into imperial Russia but into a stunning visual metaphor, a dilapidated 19th-century Russian theatre. The stalls, boxes, scene docks, dressing rooms and backstage theatrical clutter become the setting for all the Moscow and St Petersburg parts of the novel, a stark, and highly stylised, contrast with the more conventional and naturalistic scenes set on Levin's estate (actually, Salisbury Plain).

Wright's gorgeous inventiveness looks superb, yet I feel very little for the lovers. I can't help wondering what happened to Anna's son and daughter after they lost their mother.

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