Beneath Anna Poliatova’s (Sasha Luss) striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of the world’s most feared government assassins.
There was a surprising lack of marketing behind Luc Besson’s latest film Anna, which is puzzling considering that it boasts a remarkably talented cast with the likes of Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, and Helen Mirren just to name a few. It is also distributed by Summit Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate, yet there was next to nothing for promotional material. But after seeing the final film, it is extremely clear as to why trailers and television advertisements were kept to a bare minimum.
One of the many issues here is Besson’s direction, as it is clear that he himself was unsure of what the film should be. There are many times where the story just does not make a lot of sense at all, and it is hard to follow largely in part to its extremely confusing tone. One second, it wants to be a straight forward silly action flick with tons of gun fire at play, but the next it seemingly becomes dreary and dramatic. It would have been much better if it knew what it was and went for it – an over the top popcorn movie and that’s it.
Speaking of the action sequences, they are enjoyable for the most part, but while watching them, it is hard not to compare the scenes to other action movies that do it significantly better. There are quite a few moments with our lead protagonist going around and causing mayhem, which can be enjoyable, but it never quite reaches its full potential.
If there is one thing to praise here, it is most certainly Sasha Luss who actually does a pretty decent job as the titular character. She has only been in one motion picture before this, that being 2017’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and it is really impressive how good she is here. She has to sell a large number of scenes and she does so almost effortlessly. It is kind of frustrating that her character is practically invincible though. Many times throughout the course of the film, she should have gotten hurt majorly, but instead she manages to be perfect during every confrontation.
In addition, the rest of the cast do a good job with the material that they are given, including Evans and Mirren. It is unfortunate however that they do not get that much to do here to truly showcase their acting talents. Even still, they deserve a better film to show this anyway.
Luc Besson’s Anna is dull and lifeless with a tonally inconsistent script, lazy direction, and is unsure of what type of film it wants to be.
Overall Grade: D+
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language, and some sexual content
Cast: Sasha Luss, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, Helen Mirren
Directed by: Luc Besson
Distributed by: Summit Entertainment
Running Time: 118 minutes