Story: The film is based on Leo Tolstoy's famous novel and narrates the tale of adultery, involving the married Countess Anna Karenina and Count Alexei Vronsky and how it affects their lives.
Review: Adapting the famous Russian novel to the big screen is no mean task and director Karen Shakhnazarov takes on the tricky job of creating the world of 19th century Russian aristocracy, replete with its hypocrisies and orthodoxy. The film begins with Anna Karenina's son, Sergey Karenin (Kirill Grebenshchikov), a doctor in the Russian Army, treating the wounded during the war between Russia and Japan in Manchuria. A chance meeting between Sergey and Alexei Vronsky (Maksim Matveyev), his dead mother's lover, who is now a soldier, in Manchuria leads him to question what led to their affair and her suicide. The film's narrative hinges on Vronsky's version of how his affair with Anna unfolded.
Mounted on a big canvas, the most redeeming aspects of the film are the set-design and the costumes. What doesn't work is how the conflict in Anna Karenina's (Elizaveta Boyarskaya) marriage which leads her to begin an affair with Alexei Vronsky is tackled. While Elizaveta Boyarskaya and Maksim Matveyev perform their roles competently, their chemistry is not searing enough to hook the viewer and be invested in their story. The film is tediously long and slow as well. If costume dramas of yore are your thing then you might want to catch the film at a theatre near you. But, if you are looking for an engaging adaptation of the book, then skip this one.