“I work for the KGB, baby.”
Anna tells the story of a young woman, who after being involved with an abusive man, joins a Russian government entity in order to leave the hell she is living. But before she can really succeed at her newly appointed government assassin job, things begin to get rocky as she fights through multiple people to earn her freedom. Luc Besson continues to be incredibly obsessed with making action films revolving around a kick-ass female. But Besson goes nowhere with his new film that is basically a retelling of his first major film, La Femme Nikita.
I can handle action, but when they lack a consistent storyline, it’s hard for me to get invested. Our titular character, played by Sasha Luss, has a rather Daisy Ridley type appearance about her as she fights her way through bodyguards and high ranking officials she’s set to kill. Luss has the film weighing on her shoulders, but never embraces the role as she gives a lackluster performance. It was like pulling teeth to witness any ounce of good acting from her. The acting in general is atrocious. Helen Mirren, who has exhibited incredible performances in her career, just sits there with a cigarette, mumbling nonsense, for the entire film. The characters are bland and boring, with no amazing qualities. It’s absolutely impossible to connect to these characters. Not to mention, these are some of the most moronic espionage characters that I have ever seen on screen. Luke Evans’ character can attest for that! But as for Anna, her story, with its ups and downs, begins to wear you down, making the twist of the film not so twisty, but rather a constant nuisance of her inability to make up her mind. As for the fight scenes, which are few and far between, they make up for the only redeeming qualities that this film has. However, these scenes could only do so much in taking away the pain of watching this film. Even with the decent fight scenes, the one element that brings this film down, apart from the acting, is the story.
Anna tries to flip its story and create a breathtaking plot-twist. But in the end, it’s unbelievably predictable and boring. The film goes for the nonlinear storytelling, however, it fails to completely embrace this method. It’s as if Besson liked the nonlinear concept, but can’t make it work. The film becomes confusing when it jumps between “2 years later” or “2 years earlier” right smackdab in the middle of the film. The confusing timeline doesn’t wow as much as I think it’s supposed to. Not to mention, there are several plot points that are confusing without ever being exposed to the whole jump in the film’s continuity. The story is a hodgepodge of messy action movie clichés.
I can’t even tell you how unnecessary this film is. With Besson’s line of work, I expected more from a man who was able to be the creative mind behind Leon: The Professional and The Fifth Element. But Anna marks yet another instance where Besson’s genius is seemingly no longer intact. He tries to go back to basics, reinventing the film that jumpstarted his career. However, Anna is just a complete mess from start to finish, never fully realizing its potential.
Written & Directed by: Luc Besson
Starring: Sasha Luss, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, and Helen Mirren