I, Anna (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner12/12/2012

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

I, Anna is beautifully shot and features a pair of superb performances from Charlotte Rampling and Gabriel Byrne, but the manipulative script is increasingly frustrating and the finale fails to satisfy as a result.

What's it all about?
Directed by Barnaby Southcombe, I, Anna stars Charlotte Rampling (who's also the director's mother – have fun with that, Freudians) as Anna, a mature single woman who attends a speed-dating night and meets George (Ralph Brown), only for him to turn up dead the next morning. Having met her briefly at the crime scene (the Barbican, London fans), lonely investigating Detective Bernie (Gabriel Byrne) pursues Anna, but finds her memory of the night is somewhat hazy (to put it mildly).

As the pair fall for each other (despite the fact that she's his chief suspect), Anna receives something of a reprieve when Bernie's colleague Kevin (Eddie Marsan) uncovers clues that point to a different mother and son (Jodhi May and Max Deacon), who had their own problems with George. Meanwhile, Anna has further complications with her own home life, in the flat she shares with her grown-up single mum daughter (Hayley Atwell).

The Good
Charlotte Rampling is excellent as Anna, delivering a compelling and achingly haunted performance that really gets under your skin. Bryne is equally good as Bernie and the chemistry between them is convincing, at least in terms of two equally lonely people reaching out to each other in unusual circumstances. There's also strong support from May and Marsan, though Atwell is decidedly underused as Anna's daughter.

The film's biggest asset is Ben Smithard's stunning cinematography, coupled with its use of authentic London locations that, for some reason, are rarely seen on screen; certainly, it's impossible to watch this film without at some point wondering why more directors don't use the Barbican in their movies.

The Bad
The biggest problem with I, Anna is the script, which frustrates on a number of different levels, from the glacial drip-feed of information to the fact that Anna's version of reality isn't entirely reliable, which eventually feels like a bit of a cheat, since the film is largely told from her point of view. Similarly, the ending of the film, while ostensibly dramatic on paper, fails to convince on an emotional level and seems a little out of character.

Worth seeing?
Despite strong performances and stylish direction, I, Anna is ultimately a little disappointing thanks to its overly manipulative and deceitful script, but there's enough here to suggest that Barnaby Southcombe might be a future talent to watch.

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I, Anna (15)
I, Anna has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 11/12/2017 22:43

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