Main cast: Sasha Luss (Anna Poliatova), Helen Mirren (Olga), Luke Evans (Alexander Tchenkov), Cillian Murphy (Leonard Miller), Lera Abova (Maud), Alexander Petrov (Petyr), Nikita Pavlenko (Vlad), Anna Krippa (Nika), Aleksey Maslodudov (Jimmy), and Eric Godon (Vassiliev)
Director: Luc Besson
No, Anna isn’t a sequel to Lucy, despite Luc Besson being at the helm of both movies and both movies having a name as a title. It’s a spy thriller with a female protagonist and… sadly, if you had seen Atomic Blonde or Red Sparrow recently, you have seen far better versions of this story.
Basically, we have Anna Poliatova, who fell in with the bad crowd after the death of her parents. When she tried to kill herself, she was recruited by KGB officer Alexander Tchenkov who saw something special in her. Alex’s superior Olga isn’t keen on Anna at first, but she too sees that special something in her. Alas, while these two promise Anna her freedom after five years of service, the big KGB boss Vassiliev is like, no bitch, nobody leaves the KGB unless it’s in a body bag. Fortunately, the US CIA office Leonard Miller also sees something special in Anna and recruits her to be a double agent.
Seriously, Anna is special. So special, in fact, that she is just a hair away from being a Mary Sue heroine. Every man lusts after her and thinks that she is awesome. Anna just has to be photographed in a bit and lo, she’s now a worldwide fashion sensation. She takes down men three times her size without much difficulty. and nothing ever goes wrong for her here after the initial set up that drives her into wanting to kill herself. Because our heroine jumps from zero to action heroine way too abruptly, she feels more like a cartoon character than a human protagonist, and as a result, I am hard pressed to care about her or her story. It doesn’t help that Sasha Luss looks beautiful but at the same time unconvincing as a woman who can take down big men without a sweat. She lacks the musculature for such a character.
Helen Mirren effortlessly steals every scene as a tough-as-nails lady who runs the show, but come on, she’s just playing the same character like she did these days. Luke Evans is very easy on the eyes here, but his Russian accent is more Bugs Bunny and authentic. Cillian Murphy for once doesn’t look like a boogeyman here, but he and Mr Evans are here basically to look pretty and act as tools to be manipulated by Anna.
I like how Anna is allowed to be what she is, without having to weep, fall in love, or act like a stereotypical feminine protagonist, but her character is boring at the end of the day. The story doesn’t offer anything new or interesting, and I am flat out bored for about the first two-third of the whole thing. Things become somewhat interesting towards the end, but the twists only emphasize how much of a Mary Sue our heroine is.
Anna is way too forgettable, all things considered, and it has the misfortune of having come after movies with similar premises that, while flawed themselves, managed to pull off the kick-ass spy heroine thing way better.