film reel image

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Anna 2019 * * * Stars

AnnaDirector: Luc Besson
Year: 2019
Rated R
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Sasha Luss, Cillian Murphy, Helen Mirren

"Which room?" So says the fixed character of Anna Poliatova before going in for a mission-ed kill. Poliatova changes her downtrodden life by becoming a twenty-something KGB assassin in 2019's Anna (my latest review).

Anyway, Anna is a sleek and sterile thriller with a female, John Wick kick to it. It's also another round of Luc Besson, his silencers, his femme fatales, his whipped car chases, and his cinematic, French-y cuisine.

Image result for anna 2019 movie scenesSo OK, tell me how was this film overlooked? It made only $7.7 million in the US (and $28.4 million worldwide) but heck, after the lousiness that was 2014's Lucy, I kinda dug it.

I guess Anna's low box office take might have been attributed to its sparse marketing efforts, its Keanu competition, and its nearly unknown lead in Sasha Luss. Looking like a Russian version of Jennifer Lawrence and having only one other movie credit to her dossier (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets), Luss meets the physicality requirements of Anna Poliatova as well as the sudden, volatile nature. Move over Jason Statham and Jet Li because the gun-toting Sasha Luss kicks some serious arse.

Anna's director, producer, writer, and maker of all things hit-girl, is Frenchman Luc Besson (mentioned earlier). Anna is Besson at his most Besson. It's also intricate, thinking man's Besson. Channeling his inner Rashomon while harboring a Mexican standoff and using his camera like a slithery serpentine on fire, Luc Besson makes Anna virtually recommendable.

In conclusion, I liked Anna's various twists and revelations (told through flashbacks), its supporting performances from Helen Mirren and Cillian Murphy, and its groovy, bone-crackling action which "kicks" in at about the 40-minute mark (no pun intended). Bottom line: Anna may be familiar in the realms of the existing, button woman genre. Still, it's no "Fata Mongana". My rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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