Movie Review: Anna27th February 2020
I may come across as some curmudgeon that doesn’t like Hollywood blockbusters or big brand films, but I’ll always have a soft spot for a good action movie. Face/Off and John Wick provide us with two of my favourite action oriented movies, and while they’re certainly flawed, I’m happy to overlook the niggles and doubts that they offer in the face of a generally good time packed with explosions, strong performances and usually simplistic or over the top storylines. Anna can provide no such manner of things, and it becomes the latest film directed by Luc Besson to flop spectacularly, and rightly so.
Narratively, the film is all over the place. No substance to any of the events that take place, planted in a strangely random order that leaves a debilitating level of boredom to the workings of the film. You could’ve just randomly cut and pasted any scene you like in any different order and it’d have made just as much sense as the mess on display here. It’s borderline unfollowable, leaping from different points in time and in the career of our titular Anna without a care in the world. Six months later, three years prior, seventeen seconds ago, who cares, as long as it’s all there it doesn’t need to be in the right order. I imagine that’s what goes through the mind of Luc Besson during the majority of his projects these days, especially after the unrecognisably messy Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets.
Probably the biggest issue Anna faces is the character herself. Besson always jumps at the chance to project what he believes to be a strong feminist icon into his films, and Anna is no exception to his bizarre rule. Characters on the whole come off as morbidly one note or out of touch with any semblance of reality and for the most part the movie suffers greatly from a lack of care going into any of the performances. Recognisable faces like Luke Evans or Helen Mirren and even Cillian Murphy crop up from time to time, but their impact is limited, minimal at best in a film that looks to replicate the success of John Wick: Chapter 3 and Atomic Blonde.
Wanting to be Atomic Blonde but realising it can never reach the heights of that amazing, synth popping, action packed adrenalin rush, Anna is more or less content to be a stock standard action affair that looks to merely copy what made Atomic Blonde so successful, yet without copying the style, grace or engaging performances the David Leitch film has to offer. I doubt even the most hardened of action fans will enjoy this sloppy piece of derivative film that looks to oversexualise its leads, under develop its characters and destroy the few opportunities Anna has to stand out as a relatively contemporary action film.