“Cinematic Opera”

“Hotshots” looks at a movie!


Anna Karenina is based on Count Leo Tolstoy’s second great major novel, it is about a tragic love story, and of all the versions that have been filmed about it, this one is the most recent.

Anna Karenina

This one might also be the most daring of them all, considering how it portrays the action, and it undoubtedly will not be to everyone’s liking.

It stars Keira Knightly as Anna, Jude Law as her stodgy husband, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the dashing Count Vronsky.

The story begins in 1874 Imperial Russia, and you might wonder what the heck is going on with the action consisting of actors and actresses being on a stage in a theater?

Talk about suspension of disbelief! We have to pretend that we are watching a stage performance of this familiar story, and then we have to pretend that we didn’t see the actors walk through the back of the theater building and continue acting in a realistic setting like we are accustomed to seeing in most traditional films.

And then before we know it, the realistic scenes switch back and forth without warning with the surrealistic scenes inside a theater, including an unbelievable scene inside the theater about a horse race with real horses and riders dashing across the stage.

If that technique doesn’t throw off the audience enough, even if you are familiar with the story, you might be thrown off by the confusing Russian names, which make it difficult to keep all the characters straight, as well as by a subplot of another love story between two of the minor characters.

The main love story is about Anna, an aristocratic married woman with a child who falls in love with Count Vronsky and eventually has a child with him.

I won’t spoil the ending for those of you who are not familiar with the story, but for those of you who are, you might be disappointed in that a subplot coda is tacked on after the traditional ending, which in my mind ruined the story.

In addition, this film reminded me of opera, which is a stylistic rendition of a story consisting of vocal performances with orchestral accompaniment.

Anna Karenina is cinematic opera without the singing, but with music throughout, it ruins a perfectly good, classic love story, and I don’t like opera.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”