December 4, 2012
Here's what they don't tell you: this is a musical!
The big surprise: from the opening curtain ? and there is literally an opening curtain ? most of this story in enacted inside a theater, where hand painted scenery is pushed around, curtains are raised and lowered, and chandeliers drop from the ceiling just in time for the fancy drawing room scene. There are dancers, chorus lines, and quick-change artists who tear off their government uniforms to reveal they are waiters (!) and proceed to serve dinner. The action ? horse races, sleigh rides, big dance numbers, and our lead characters' adultery ? are enacted on a theatrical stage in the phoniest, most clumsily contrived manner possible. About 3/4 of this film seems to have no other purpose than to ridicule Tolstoy. Jude Law is strangely out of place because out of the entire cast he somehow manages to act, competently and with real dignity.
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