Halo for Fallen Woman

17th September 2012

When you’re making the twelfth movie version of a story that’s widely regarded as the best novel ever written, you need to get everything right.

Of course, you have a head start if you have Leo Tolstoy and Tom Stoppard as your writing team. And it helps when the plot puts the most compelling heroine in Russian literature into the most universal of human dramas. The easy, the obvious way, would be to go for a standard costume drama. But, reasoned the team behind Anna Karenina, a simple remake of all that had gone before would be selling the audience short.
Joe Wright’s acclaimed Anna Karenina, with Kiera Knightley in the title role, avoids the costume drama cliché by setting the bulk of the action in a run-down theatre. It’s a bold approach that simultaneously underlines one of the central themes of the story – that Russian society of the time insisted that people played their expected roles or paid a high and tragic price – while allowing plenty of scope for style and visual magic.

There’s audio magic too. The score, by Dario Marianelli (who won an Oscar in 2007 for his score for Atonement, also directed by Joe Wright and also starring Kiera Knightley), has been singled out as one of the highlights and is already tipped as a front-runner for next year’s Academy Awards. Here, though, Wright and Marianelli took no risks. The sound and quality had to be spot on. So recording took place on the Neve 88RS in Lyndhurst Hall, with Nick Wollage of AIR Studios Management as score engineer and mixer.