Director Joe Wright has thrice teamed up with English ingénue Keira Knightley to bring literature to life with Atonement, Pride & Prejudice, and the upcoming Anna Karenina. With the first two winning much praise and Oscar acclaim, the third film of the pair's collaboration has some incredible expectation to live up to. But from the release of Focus Feature's glamorous poster and enchanting first trailer, Anna Karenina has had us in its sway.
Now, Wright has released a clip that gives us a look at six minutes of the film, while revealing a surprising device the trailer and poster only hinted at. As Wright explains it in the clip's intro:
"Just as the Russian aristocracy of the 19th century can be described as living on a stage, our story unfolds in a dilapidated theater. We shot almost all of the film in this single location. Over 100 sets were built within the theater creating a kind of fluid linearity."
You can view the awe-inspiring results below in a clip that features Knightley, Aaron Johnson, and Jude Law:
Wright has been praised for his incredible and complicated long takes, like the beach scene in Atonement and the underground fight scene in Hanna. But now his love of this elegant but hard-earned fluidity has informed the entire construction of his Anna Karenina, an epic breathtaking in its ambition. From this clip we can see the linearity Wright speaks of as Anna moves seamlessly from the ball to her home, but there's so much more here to savor.
Matching the drama's setting, the actors have chosen a heightened more theatrical performance style than what is typically seen in contemporary films, and is supported here by a looming orchestral score. While this is sure to turn off some moviegoers, it seems a majestic and bold choice that could make Anna Karenina all the more a standout in an autumn crowded with award-courting pictures. On top of that, we get a taste of Johnson and Knightley's shared screen time in which the heat of the chemistry they share is so intense it causes all the women about to flap their fans frantically! With so many daring choices on display, Anna Karenina has just become my most-anticipated feature of the fall.
Anna Karenina opens November 9th.