I watched the trailer for this movie about a month ago and my opinion of it hasn’t changed. Once again, Hollywood is selling the idea that a Strawweight Russian supermodel with no muscle definition or upper body strength can suddenly become John Wick and take out a room full of men 3-4 times her size in hand to hand combat.
There is a thin line between suspension of disbelief and insulting one’s intelligence and unless the twist is that our protagonist is from the same island of Amazons that Wonder Woman came from, this was going to be a hard pass…until I saw who the director was. Luc Besson for those who don’t remember wrote and directed one of my worst films of 2017, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. I knew the second I saw the trailer for that film, it was going to be trash and they didn’t disappoint. For some reason, EuporaCorp gave that movie a production and marketing budget of 400 million dollars and it went on to lose 170 million globally.
So in the course of two years, Luc Besson went from directing one model turned actress who can’t act (Cara Delevingne) to another model turned actress who is in the lead role of only the second movie she has ever been in…
Anna begins as a story of a down on her luck junkie who is looking for a little freedom in her life. One night, she is approached by the KGB to become an asset for the next five years. Before Anna realizes that the deal she was drafted was based on lies, she falls into a trap set by the CIA and becomes a double agent in order to ensure her way out.
Watching this film, you can’t help but think that you are actually watching an apology/fetish film rather than an action/thriller. It is no secret that Luc Besson is a mark women being badass fighting machines considering his past work but last year he got himself into some #MeToo trouble and this film felt like compensation. All the men in this film either get shot in the head or are portrayed as incompetent scumbags. But if Besson thinks this will put him back in good graces with feminists, he is sadly mistaken. Then you have the questionable obsession with the lead Sasha Luss. Luss who has become a personal muse for Besson finds herself in many comprising positions as she sleeps with everyone in the film who gets at least 5 minutes of screentime. It’s like the director gets off on watching other dudes have sex with her knowing he can’t and understanding the nature of his #MeToo problems, this ain’t a good look son.
As far as the film itself, there are many technical problems. The story is told out of order meaning the plot keeps jumping months to years into the future and the past without explaining what is going on. Besson thinks he is being clever by throwing in a bunch of twists but when you constantly have to stop the movie and rewind 3 months in the past to figure out how what you just saw could have possibly happened, the shtick gets really old, really fast. You have some good actors here but the talent is wasted on terrible writing and unbelievable accents. You have a bunch of British and Irish actors in Mirren, Evans, and Murphy playing high level Russian & American agents respectively who make basic rookie mistakes because everyone is trying to get into the pants of our lead. Luss as the lead isn’t bad but her acting is inconsistent. She is still 100% better than Cara Delevingne on the sole basis that she has more than one facial expression, and her American accent is far better as well.
With some better editing and a bit more polish, Anna could have been a film that would have been recommendable but the final product is simply too sloppy to waste your time on. Sasha Luss apparently gave herself five years to win an ocsar…you got some work to do.