What Do Films Like Luc Besson’s Anna Desire To Achieve?

Anna Review

When I began writing movie reviews, the internet told me that reviews are around the 1000-word count and above. This is not a hard thing to reach because films in their multifaceted nature of actors, directors, box office, studio, trend, etc, have a lot of talking points. With “Angel Has Fallen” and “Joker“, there is so much to talk about that 1000 words became the number where we must end and which became the beginning of the end rather than the end itself. With Luc Besson’s English-language French “Anna” Review, I think anything near 1000 will be a miracle or the work of an expert rambler or both. The reason is simple, “Anna” is not a good movie and you don’t need a lot of words to say that.

Anna Review: The plot = a straightway to hell

The thing I “beach” (no typo) about movies most is the plot. Coming from a background in Literature where the two major genres, drama and prose are usually plot-centric, it is hard to forgive films that have no plot. Actually, I have come to realize that the plot can be sidelined if you have enough power to run the show – “Fast and Furious” Spin-off and The Rock and Jason Statham team-up against Edris Alba is an archetypical example of a film where a plot was successfully thrown out of the window and a good film achieved.

David Leitch had a budget of 200 million dollars to make Shaw and Hobbs, Luc Besson had only 30. But this is not the real difference – the game-changer is in the fact that Leitch has Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and Edris Alba, legends and show-runners in their own rights. Who did Besson have? A group of so-and-so actors and actresses. The only way out was to make a story film but Besson decided to make a character-driven film and failed with a big bang.

Aladdin film review

The story is about Anna (played by Shasha Luss) a beautiful blonde Russian girl who is spotted selling dolls in Moscow by a modeling agency executive and decided she was better suited for the runways and signed her up. In Paris, Anna kills her Russian gun-running love interest in cold-blood just for the hell of it. Next, she is living with an abused boyfriend who rapes her, hits her, and puts her in harm’s way, and she fails to kill him just for the hell of it.

Anna is then approached by the KGB who makes her an agent and just like that she becomes a super-killing machine capable of fighting tens of well-trained private or government forces with a pistol, a baton, and broken utensils and kill or knock them all down. Then the CIA somehow hijacked her and demanded her to kill her commander. It turns out that the second in command also wants the commander dead. Both the CIA and the KGB number two promise Anna the only thing she wants – freedom.

This story in itself is not bad. In principle, anything can pass for a movie story – I wake up, unhappy, I walked to the kitchen and ate bread can serve. But the delivery, the fusion of series of supporting events is what makes a story a plot, a good plot. This is where Besson fails. How does a girl go from been an innocent model to a murderer then back to a whimpering cat in the hands of an abusive lover, then a super machine killer? There is no effort by the writers one of them Besson to convince the viewer and get them to suspend disbelief. It is not take-it or leave-it scenario; it is we’re shoving this down your throat, you bloody viewer.

Anna Review: What worked?

The short answer is nothing. A longer answer may elicit profanities. The action is ridiculous, the car racing is just cars running, there is no emotional connection, despite Anna loving both penis and pussy. The chess symbolism is weak, the characters do not inspire devotion, and the flashbacks were a little overdone. Perhaps the plot twist that saw both the CIA and the KGB wanting the same thing is the highlight of the show. But you can’t forgive (if you will, I won’t) the fact that the meeting which Anna set with her CIA contact and KGB recruiter and lover (Luke Evans) ended up becoming an anti-climax.

See also: Gemini Man review

There is an African proverb that says a snake is never as long as the stick with which it is likened to. But “Anna” is as bad as you fear. The film made 30.9 million dollars off a budget of 30 million dollars. As usual, viewers have shown that a bad movie is not necessarily a bad box office return. Don’t get me wrong, “Anna” was a director’s nightmare in the box office, but that it made as much as it did can be attributed to the kindness/ selective blindness of viewers.

When the film mercifully came to an end, a sigh of relief followed, then trepidation at the thought of doing an “Anna” review.

What do films like “Anna” desire to achieve?

Every actor, producer, and director with a sizeable list of credits has made a bad movie or two. Making a bad movie is not a sign of anything. It may just be wrong timing, a poor story, below par-acting, wrong casting, or plain bad luck. “Anna” is a bad movie and it doesn’t say anything about Luc Besson other than the fact that he is human. It is a little telling on Besson’s resume, however, because this is the second movie that has failed to hit the mark. In 2019, he made “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” and it garnered mostly poor reviews and made kitchen change profit off its budget of 205 million dollars.

The Goldfinch review

In 2014, Besson made the blockbuster “Lucy” which was well-received by critics and went on to make 400+ million dollars off a budget of 40. This was five years ago. In 1990, Besson gave us “Nikita”. He is a big-time director but “Nikita” and “Lucy” will not save him forever. His next movie just has to be a hit.

To end “Anna” review, we return to the title question of what do films like Anna desire to achieve? The answer is thrilling entertainment. They want to entertain the audience with the stamina, skills, and crafts of the protagonist. Films like “Anna” pursue their goal while sacrificing character development, plot, emotional import, and reality. Films like “Anna” are penny-wise, pound foolish.

Image source: Medium.com

Amos JC

Amos JC

Amos JC is the head of movies and TV content.