Here’s a handsome Christmas present in the form of a highly original and sumptuous staging of the Leo Tolstoy novel, scripted by the great British playwright Tom Stoppard and directed by Joe Wright (“Atonement”).
The movie was shot almost entirely in an old theater, with the actors deftly moving from scene to scene. As doors open, new sets are revealed. Some of those doors also lead outdoors to offer ravishing shots of the Russian countryside -- but of the main characters, only one is allowed outside. That is Levin (Domhnall Gleeson, son of Brendan), whose happy scything with the peasants frees him from the chilly embrace of 19th century Russian high society.