SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT (2019)

 

Director: Luc Besson

 

Starring: Sasha Luss, Luke Evans, Helen Mirren, Cillian Murphy

Anna and the Movie of a Thousand Accents.

 

Two years on from the colossal failure of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Luc Besson has gone back to the drawing board somewhat with Anna – an action-thriller with a fraction of the aforementioned’s blockbuster budget – and has returned to his Nikita roots (stylistically, at least). There’s a decent looking cast cobbled together as well, including Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy and (Dame) Helen Mirren as well as Sasha Luss (whom Besson introduced in Valerian) but recent action-thrillers have been lacklustre, to say the least.

Anna (Luss) is a victim of domestic abuse who is offered a way to turn her life around…by the KGB – specifically KGB agent Alex (Evans). She is trained as a KGB assassin with the promise of a free life after a few years and goes undercover as a fashion model to seduce her clients, though it’s implied her strength and ability is what helps her up the ladder. Spy twist after spy twist occurs and that’s the story. Anna is your stock action thriller in the sense that it has a main character who becomes highly proficient in their new role within minutes, becomes impervious to death and can outwit everyone they come across with ease – it’s nearly the epitome of cliché. It’s all very stylish at times and extremely bland to look at – there’s a stiff, cold feeling throughout that doesn’t make Anna all that alluring to watch. The writing isn’t great and the twists aren’t entirely well hidden, though some of the action is well-choreographed.

 

Sasha Luss is primarily a model first, actress…well, some way off. Besson has clearly cast her for her stunning looks but she isn’t the greatest actress in the world which doesn’t help when she is carrying the movie. Anna, herself, is essentially just there for sex scenes and to kill people, there’s no more development than that. Luke Evans has a silly accent and everyone here really just seems to be in pedestrian mode. That could be said for the entire movie, its nearly two-hour runtime makes no effort in rushing itself as the narrative meanders on towards its inevitable conclusion. There isn’t an awful lot that’s thrilling, to be honest.

 

Recent similar offerings have disappointed and Anna is no different – it’s just convention after convention wrapped in staid packaging. When Besson is on form, he gets it right but this is just a slog. Whatever Besson was striving for with Anna, he really didn’t achieve it.

June 29th 2019

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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