Anna Karenina

Rated 3.0

Keira Knightley’s sweetly jejeune smile ensures that her rendition of Tolstoy’s Anna K will be persistently two-dimensional. And this picture’s Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is all chocolate soldier (albeit white chocolate). Only Jude Law (as bamboozled husband Karenin) does justice to a central character. The secondary relationship of country boy Levin (Domhnall Gleeson) and disappointed princess Kitty (Alicia Vikander) comes across more effectively than anything in the central romantic triangle. Writer-director Joe Wright’s elaborately stylized staging is spectacular and fascinating, but it doesn’t really accomplish much apart from advertising the film’s candidacy for production-design awards. The cast includes Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfadyen, Olivia Williams, Michelle Dockery and Emily Watson. But none of them gets a chance to be as memorable as the special effects involving snow-covered locomotives or the theater stage that opens on to snowy tundra in one instance and becomes the home stretch for some scary horseback riding action in another. Pageant Theatre. Rated PG-13.