April Showers semi-daily @ 11
Andrew here to briefly talk about Anna Karenina, because I relish any opportunity to talk about one of my favourite 2012 films.
Among the great many things about Anna Karenina I remain grateful for (Keira’s most adult performance, Marianelli’s most inventive score, great work from Durran are a few) Jude Law’s turn as Alexei Karenin is near the top. Prior to Anna Karenina I’d been experiencing something akin to cognitive dissonance with Jude for the last eight years or so. Other than the odd Contagion thrown in I’d been finding it more and more difficult to justify the reasons I kept maintaining that he was my favourite actor under 40. So, naturally, he had much to prove to me with Anna Karenina and luckily I wasn’t disappointed.
The shower in question is brief but comes at a pivotal moment in the film. With a third of the narrative left Karenin, assured of his wife's infidelity, experiences an awkward dinner with her brother's family. He is too scrupulous to excuse or understand Anna’s cheating ways and when he receives a letter plaintive letter he rips it to shreds.
With that tortured look, alone, I’m willing to forgive less than exciting work in the years preceding. It's not that post-2004 and pre-2012 Jude was slumming it, but he's not been pushing himself either. It’s one of the key reasons I would reach for Wright’s Karenina before any other. Karenin is not a footnote, but a full realised man. Wright and Stoppard are unwaveringly interested in ALL of their characters and the examination of Karenin is as compassionate and warm as that of the eponymous heroine. As the shredded paper morphs into a shower of snow it leads to one of the multiple glorious images of the film.
Seeing steadfast Karenin (and his good ethics) inundated in a shower of white does not seem accidental, to me. The idea of a jilted lover standing in a shower of rain is not unheard of, but of course Karenin - forever suffering in silence - is showered not in loud raindrops but snow which is not only as pure and immaculate as his morals are but silent, too. There is no pitter patter as this shower unfolds but a chilling soundlessness as the snow falls to the stage. Like Karenin himself, a man not out of love with his wife but too emotionlessly silent to show it, there is no sound. Poor cuckolded fool, though; shredded paper and all he’s at her bedside in the next scene.
Was anyone else as moved by Jude's Karenin last year? Did Wright's compassion for the cuckolded husband impress you too?