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By DP30 david@thehotbuttonl.com

DP/30: Anna Karenina, actor Keira Knightley

7 Responses to “DP/30: Anna Karenina, actor Keira Knightley”

  1. Lex says:

    LOOK AT HER. The world’s most perfect and CHARMING woman.

  2. NightTale says:

    I thought she was frighteningly good in Anna Karenina. It really takes a fearless actress to play such an unlikable/complex character. She deserves praise for playing such a role and I hope AMPAS gives her a second Oscar nomination.

  3. Not David Bordwell says:

    I would like to point out that she played an equally unlikable/complex character without fear in Cronenberg’s A DANGEROUS METHOD without all this effusive praise. She was already astonishing in that film, but now she gets the Oscar buzz? Perplexing.

  4. Actionman says:

    Sooooooo disgusted that AK hasn’t opened in my area. What are they doing with the release of this supposedly groundbreaking adaptation?

    She’s stunningly beautiful, and hugely talented, a rare combo. Have always been a massive fan. Domino POWER.

  5. Lex says:

    Anna Karenina is terrific, big Joe Wright fan, and Keira is one of my absolute favorites (and the only woman for whom I’d maybe take a pass on K-Stew), but quick stylistic question about AK:

    This is a minority opinion, but anyone else think its stylistic “audacity” is being maybe overstated? Reviews both pro- and con talk at length about its formalistic quirks, like the “staged” elements and going backstage, etc. Anyone else feel like those were kind of neither here nor there? Honestly, 95% of the movie seemed to play like a really good, invested, visceral period movie, and then every 25 minutes or so they’d break the fourth wall just a smidge, and you kinda go, “Okay, fine, going with it, whatever,” then it returns to the big epic movie that it is.

    Just everyone talking about how CRA-A-A-AZY Wright’s choice to do that is, but it’s hardly what I remember about the movie, and didn’t seem to add or detract in any real way. Honestly think a lot of casual viewers wouldn’t even notice it.

  6. Mike says:

    Lex, I haven’t seen AK, but I remember bits and pieces of Atonement in a similar way. I remember the weird score–which used the typewriter–and how I thought it was clever at first, but then overused. The same with the long uncut shot on the beach in Dunkirk. His flair for the dramatic feels too calculated sometimes, and adds little to the whole work.

  7. Actionman says:

    That shot at Dunkirk is a fucking marvel of filmmaking, and his one-take-fight with Bana in Hanna was supreme. Joe Wright feels like he came from the same school as Mendes.

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DP/30

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“The core fear is what can happen to you, personally. Your body. That’s what horror films deal with, precisely. We are a very thin skin wrapped around a pumping heart and guts. At any given moment it can come down to that, be it diseases, or somebody’s assault, or war, or a car wreck. You could be reduced to the simple laws of physics and your body’s vulnerability. The edged weapon is the penultimate weapon to disclose that reality to you.”
~ Wes Craven, 1996, promoting Scream

MAMET
Well, that, to me, is always the trick of dramaturgy; theoretically, perfectly, what one wants to do is put the protagonist and the audience in exactly the same position. The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always what does the protagonist want. That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants. What gives rise to the drama, what is the precipitating event, and how, at the end of the play, do we see that event culminated? Do we see the protagonist’s wishes fulfilled or absolutely frustrated? That’s the structure of drama. You break it down into three acts.

INTERVIEWER
Does this explain why your plays have so little exposition?

MAMET
Yes. People only speak to get something. If I say, Let me tell you a few things about myself, already your defenses go up; you go, Look, I wonder what he wants from me, because no one ever speaks except to obtain an objective. That’s the only reason anyone ever opens their mouth, onstage or offstage. They may use a language that seems revealing, but if so, it’s just coincidence, because what they’re trying to do is accomplish an objective… The question is where does the dramatist have to lead you? Answer: the place where he or she thinks the audience needs to be led. But what does the character think? Does the character need to convey that information? If the answer is no, then you’d better cut it out, because you aren’t putting the audience in the same position with the protagonist. You’re saying, in effect, Let’s stop the play. That’s what the narration is doing—stopping the play… It’s action, as Aristotle said. That’s all that it is—exactly what the person does. It’s not what they “think,” because we don’t know what they think. It’s not what they say. It’s what they do, what they’re physically trying to accomplish on the stage. Which is exactly the same way we understand a person’s character in life—not by what they say, but by what they do. Say someone came up to you and said, I’m glad to be your neighbor because I’m a very honest man. That’s my character. I’m honest, I like to do things, I’m forthright, I like to be clear about everything, I like to be concise. Well, you really don’t know anything about that guy’s character. Or the person is onstage, and the playwright has him or her make those same claims in several subtle or not-so-subtle ways, the audience will say, Oh yes, I understand their character now; now I understand that they are a character. But in fact you don’t understand anything. You just understand that they’re jabbering to try to convince you of something.
~ David Mamet

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