Based on Leo Tolstoy's expansive romance, the film follows several families, each unhappy in their own way, and focuses in on the illicit relationship between the married Anna (Keira Knightley) and the dashing Count Vronsky (Aaron Johnson), Anna's husband Karenin (Jude Law) and the developing love of Kitty Scherbatsky (Alicia Vikander) and Konstantin Levin (Domhnall Gleeson).
Now, I'm all for a period drama - I am a literature enthusiast after all - but I have to admit, what I've seen of the film has so far left me cold. Wright has impressed critics before with his work on Atonement and Pride and Prejudice and will no doubt benefit from the screenplay by Tom Stoppard and the trailer and the poster are a treat visually, placing great emphasis on all the rich, sumptuous sets and costumes.
So far though, it's more in line with a Lurhmann adaptation than your more traditional variety which will probably help when it comes to attracting people into the cinema, but when dealing with a novel as beloved as this one, traditional may have been the way to go.
The central concept of setting a lot of the society scenes within the same theatre is an interesting one considering the novel's focus on living life in the public eye, but it just seems to be trying too hard to be 'cool' and 'hip' and any other buzz word that makes it more relevant and appealing to today's audiences.
My main issue though is with the casting. Knightley has proven in The Duchess that she can do justice to a complex character, but I'm not sure she has the chops for this particular role. Anna is older in the book, past her prime and dissatisfied that her life has grown stale and she is unable to control it. If Knightley can pull it off, I'll hold my hands up and admit I was wrong. But at this stage, I just can't see it.
Anna Karenina will be arriving in cinemas on 7 September.