Written, Produced and Directed by Luc Besson
Anna tells the story of a young Russian woman who in order to escape her life of domestic abuse becomes a spy and assassin for the KGB with her cover being an international fashion model. She must then navigate the dangerous and twisting world of espionage to not only survive but escape.
It’s a great action film but more importantly it’s a fantastic spy thriller that requires you to pay attention to all the twists and turns as well as the mechanizations of the characters. Everyone is plotting and counter plotting. It forces you to pay attention to the story and to the characters. And even if you do pay attention you will still be surprised. Not everything is as it appears. There is nothing presented as is. Every scene has a deeper layer.
The character of Anna (Sasha Luss) uses every resource she has to not only survive but get what she wants. And what she wants from the beginning is to get out. She wants to get out of her horrible life that the KGB finds her in and then she wants to get out of the espionage business to finally be free and start over. That’s really her whole driving force.
Anna is cunning and maybe even could be viewed as a bit manipulative in how she uses her beauty to disarm those who would control her. They’ve crafted an intelligent character that is more than a pretty face to look cool in action scenes.
Olga (Helen Mirren) is her superior in the KGB. She is tough and a little combative even and doesn’t seem to think too much of the young Anna at first. Helen Mirren is a great actress and works magic in her parts. She does so well here that it’s tough to realize that it is Helen Mirren.
Alexander “Alex” Tchenkov (Luke Evans) is the agent that finds her and starts her down the road spy craft. He also becomes Anna’s lover which in hindsight is her first step in her plan to escape.
Leonard Miller (Cillian Murphy) is the CIA agent that catches her during an assassination attempt and turns her into a double agent. Murphy is a great actor and he is especially good here as Miller. Miller is trying to redeem himself for a fiasco involving some of his agents and a high-ranking KGB official that ordered them wiped out. He’s cold and angry and a bit of a jerk. He also becomes Anna’s other lover.
The action scenes are pretty good. They use a combination of fast moves and the single camera gimmick. It helps to give them an intensity.
This is one of those movies that I feel didn’t get the attention that it deserved. Most likely that was because of issues surrounding Luc Besson. He’s faced some rape accusations before and since this film came out. This film should have been a breakout action performance for Miss Luss but unfortunately it never became that because of the issues with the director.
It’s sad that this movie got virtually no notice when it hit theaters. It’s a very good film. If you come across it watch it. It is a must see.