Anna (2019 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Luc Besson|
|Written by||Luc Besson|
|Music by||Eric Serra|
|Edited by||Julien Rey|
|Distributed by||Lionsgate (US and UK)|
Pathé Distribution (France)
|Box office||$30.9 million|
Anna (stylized as ANИA) is a 2019 English-language French action thriller film written, produced and directed by Luc Besson. The film stars Sasha Luss as the eponymous assassin, alongside Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, Helen Mirren, and Alexander Petrov.
The film was theatrically released in the United States on 21 June 2019 by Summit Entertainment and on 10 July 2019 by Pathé Distribution in France. The film was the first and last film to be released by Summit Entertainment due to the company absorbing into Lionsgate's operation's. It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $30 million worldwide.
Anna, a young Russian beauty who has been the victim of domestic abuse, will do anything to escape the life she is trapped in. In a twist of fate, she reluctantly accepts an offer by KGB officer Alex. After a year of training, she is to work as a KGB assassin for five years under a handler named Olga, after which she will be free to continue her life as she pleases. KGB head Vassiliev is not willing to honor this agreement, implying that the only way out of the KGB is death.
She goes undercover as a fashion model and is hired to work in Paris. At the same time she completes various missions and assassinations. When she is found out by the CIA, she agrees to work for them as a double agent with Agent Miller as her handler, in exchange for the promise of immediate retirement and a protected life in Hawaii. Miller later tasks her with assassinating Vassiliev, with the CIA hoping that his absence would lead to smoother relations with the KGB. Anna kills Vassiliev and fights her way out of the KGB. She later arranges a meet with Alex and Miller, bartering information she stole from the two agencies in exchange for a temporary reprieve. As she is leaving, she is ambushed by Olga and shot for her betrayal. However, she uses a body double to fake her death and escape.
It is revealed that Olga had earlier discovered Anna's association with the CIA and the planned assassination of Vassiliev. Both women conspired to go along with the CIA's plan so that Olga could succeed Vassiliev and later faked Anna's execution to fool both agencies and set Anna free. As Olga moves into Vassiliev's former office, she views a recorded message left for her by Anna, who expresses her gratitude to Olga but reveals she kept evidence of Olga's involvement in Vassiliev's murder in case Olga betrays their agreement. Olga smiles in admiration, and proceeds to delete Anna's file from the KGB database.
- Sasha Luss as Anna Poliatova
- Helen Mirren as Olga
- Luke Evans as Alexander "Alex" Tchenkov
- Cillian Murphy as Leonard Miller
- Lera Abova as Maude
- Alexander Petrov as Piotr
- Nikita Pavlenko as Vlad
- Anna Krippa as Nika
- Aleksey Maslodudov as Jimmy
- Eric Godon as Vassiliev
- Ivan Franěk as Mossan
- Jean-Baptiste Puech as Samy
- Nastya Sten as Blonde Anna
- Andrew Howard as Oleg
On 9 October 2017, it was reported that Luc Besson's next film would be Anna, starring newcomer Sasha Luss, along with Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, and Cillian Murphy. EuropaCorp produced the film while Lionsgate handled the distribution under their Summit Entertainment label.
Anna grossed $7.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $23 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $30.7 million.
In the United States and Canada, the film opened alongside Child's Play and Toy Story 4, and was expected to gross $2 to 4 million from 2,150 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $1.4 million on its first day, including $325,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $3.5 million, finishing 11th at the box office.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 36% based on 67 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Anna finds writer-director Luc Besson squarely in his wheelhouse, but fans of this variety of stylized action have seen it all done before – and better." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 40 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 81% (with an average 4 out of 5 stars).
Peter Debruge of Variety wrote, "Anna shows that Besson is the same filmmaker now that he was 20 years ago, and unlike his title character, who lithely adapts to whatever situation she's in, he's been telling roughly the same story over and over all this time." Brad Wheeler of The Globe and Mail called the film "a near-parody non-thriller" and was critical of the story structure: "Anna relies on a time-shifting structure that is laughably exhausting."
Movie Nation critic Roger Moore gave the film 1.5 out of 4 stars, and wrote: "There are a lot of irritants and clumsy touches to Besson's latest, infuriatingly inferior version of La Femme Nikita that ruin it." Moore is annoyed by historical anachronisms, criticizes the "pointless flashbacks", the cartoon physics of the fight scenes, and says Luss "handles the action choreography with skill and emotes better than your average model turned actress", concluding that Besson has outsmarted himself.
Noel Murray of the Los Angeles Times praised the film, "As a slick, over-the-top action picture, Anna works splendidly" but says the film is overshadowed by Besson's offscreen personal issues. David Fear of Rolling Stone stated, "This kind of Cold War-a-go-go, deadly-honeypot intrigue is harder to do well than you might think – just ask the folks behind Red Sparrow. So you appreciate it when someone like Besson can make it move like a pro. And despite constantly playing fast and loose with the chronology [...], he delivers a sleek, largely efficient mechanism of adrenaline-soaked déjà vu." Bilge Ebiri of The New York Times wrote: "Anna isn't as stylish or gripping as Nikita, but it does have its own demented charm, particularly in how it toys with structure, nesting competing narrative timelines within each other."
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- Debruge, Peter (21 June 2019). "'Anna' Review: Sasha Luss's Big Shot Overshadowed by Controversy". Variety. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
- Brad Wheeler (20 June 2019). "Review: Luc Besson's spy slop Anna shows the true mark of an unprofessional". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Archived from the original on 21 June 2019. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
- Roger Moore (21 June 2019). "Movie Review: "Anna" is merely the latest "La Femme Nikita"". Movie Nation.
- "Review: Luc Besson's slick, over-the-top 'Anna' is overshadowed by its creator's issues". Los Angeles Times. 21 June 2019.
- Fear, David (21 June 2019). "'Anna' Review: A Girl, Some Guns and a Recycled Plot". Rolling Stone.
- Ebiri, Bilge (21 June 2019). "'Anna' Review: a Curiously Familiar Female Assassin". The New York Times.