Nobody makes even the slightest attempt to use a Russian accent,which gives "Anna Karenina" all the cultural charm of a Japanese tourist trying to order a Whopper in a Moscow Burger King.
This film was shot on location in Russia, which means exactly what you'd think it would mean: Director Bernard ("Immortal Beloved") Rose whiles away the time photographing pretty buildings and pausing the camera for ungodly-long moments on what seems to be Siberia, all while hacking up Leo Tolstoy's story with the skill of a Tourettic butcher trying to debone a chicken with a popsicle stick.
Rose starts off by coquettishly introducing Anna Karenina (Sophie Marceau) as a tangential character in the story of Levin (Alfred Molina), who's trying to marry the princess, Kitty (Mia Kirshner). The only problem is that Kitty has eyes for Alexei Vronsky (Sean Bean). Fortunately, Alexei gets one look at Anna at an aristocratic get-together and throws Kitty off his lap like hot soup.
Rose's sole purpose soon devolves to contrasting Levin and Kitty's relationship with that of Anna and Alexei -- one goes well; the other doesn't. This does nothing for the movie except make it longer than it has to be. If Rose was looking for some clue as to what his movie was supposed to be about, he should have checked the title of the screenplay for a subtle hint.
Another baffling aspect of this film is its myriad conflicting accents. Wasn't Leo Tolstoy a Russki? Sophie Marceau is French, Mia Kirshner is Canadian, and the other actors flaunt their native accents like fans rooting for the home team. Nobody makes even the slightest attempt to use a Russian accent, which gives "Anna Karenina" all the cultural charm of a Japanese tourist trying to order a Whopper in a Moscow Burger King.
To spread the word about this Anna Karenina review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.