There are so many great things about this film. Joe Wright, who did an excellent job adapting Atonement (2007) and an UTTERLY AMAZING job adapting Pride and Prejudice (2005), has earned his right to stamp Anna Karenina with his elegant yet strikingly emotional direction. Plus, the whole deconstructed theatre set is a totally gutsy move that provides a relevant and poignant lens on AK while escaping the boring, traditionalist ways of adaptation. Besides, Wright’s signature is his long, panoramic single shots (see his Dunkirk scene and P&P ball scene), which work so well with AK’s theatrical scene changes and passionate dances.
And in case you didn’t think this movie was real, Tom Stoppard wrote the screenplay, so you know it’s legit.
Then, you’ve got the amazing cast. It’s near-perfection. Matthew MacFayden graduated from the Kevin Kline school of acting (thanks to critickate for the Kevin Kline comparison) and steals his scenes as Oblonsky.