The video: This week, director Joe Wright released a generous six-minute clip of Anna Karenina, his upcoming adaptation of the classic Leo Tolstoy novel which stars Keira Knightley as the eponymous heroine and has already sparked talk of Oscar nominations. Introducing the clip, Wright explains that almost the entire movie was filmed in a dilapidated theater, which was converted into 100 interconnected sets. The point is to echo the trope that the Russian aristocracy treated life as theater during the 19th century, as evidenced in the clip by Knightley's gliding seamlessly from a crowded ballroom into the quiet interior of her home, the only clue that she has been "outside" her act of subtly blowing on her hands to ward off a chill.
The reaction: The "awe-inspiring" clip displays a "hard-earned fluidity" that could equal some of Wright's best scenes in 2007's Atonement, says Kristy Puchko at CinemaBlend. The integration of the sets suggests that Anna Karenina is an "epic breathtaking in its ambition." We also get a glimpse of the actors' performances, which are characterized by an over-the-top "theatricality and decadence" that may turn off some viewers, says Kevin Jagernauth at IndieWire. Indeed, Anna Karenina appears to be "anything other than your typical period romance," says Adam Chitwood at Collider. Take a look:
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