Dust off your furs and get a round of vodka, Anna Karenina has arrived, and this is one date you won't want to stand up!
I can't remember the last time I went to see a film in the cinema which lived up to the great cinematic experience every trailer promises. So it came as the most pleasant surprise when an 1877 novel was transformed by director Joe Wright into a visual feast so filling, I was stuffed within the first 10 minutes.
From the outset you enter this world of changing sets, which is expertly carried out and reminds you of all that is great about theatre. They're on the stage, the snow is made from paper & the scenes are moved on and off by actors. In this magical world it seems impossible for their to be any connection with the actors and audience, yet it manages to take you along for the whole heart-wrenching ride. The music, the costumes, the sets - I can barely find a fault. The bold colours and elaborate outfits give visual splendour that your eyes become entranced with.
Each scene is perfectly drawn out, using set pieces and flown in backdrops, but the actors use every bit of their skill to make the story realistic. When you've entered this world, you don't question why a horse race takes place in a theatre or gas lamps line the bedroom.
From even simple elements such as using a their fans to act as pace makers in the scenes, they work wonderfully to provide a soundtrack to the action. The fluttering fans give an air of intimidation at the balls and high tension at the horse races. Choreography throughout is as every bit as fantastical, making you dizzy from the sheer amount of intricacy taken in each movement.
It's a spectacle that has to be seen to be believed, and that's why I don't think any review I've seen does it justice. I am sure this article probably doesn't either. All I can say, is that for me, this film hit every mark. You can tell that the team working on this has scrutinised each and every scene, set and character. It's this labour of love that has produced, in my opinion, the best love story seen on film for years.
Follow Richard Brownlie-Marshall on Twitter: www.twitter.com/richardsbm