“Anna”, Luc Besson’s action thriller starring Sasha Luss, Helen Mirren, Cillian Murphy and Luke Evans, releases select theaters today to almost no promotion, premiere or any kind of buzz, except some disappointing reviews. Most articles on the film touch the matter of the recent accusations against Besson and how it hurts the markability and mainstream effect of the film. A collection of reviews can be found below. The photo updates above are accompanied by more clips from the film – international trailers, television spots, a clip and an on-set interview with Helen.
The New York Times, Bilge Ebiri (June 21, 2019)
“Anna” is entertainingly put together, but it might be hard to be entertained by it. Last year, the director was accused by a number of women of sexual assault, which he has denied. It’s hard not to be reminded of such matters when watching a film that often turns on seduction and shifting power dynamics in male-female relations. “Anna” can’t live in a vacuum.
Variety, Peter Debruge (June 21, 2019)
Will anything in “Anna” take audiences by surprise? Nothing so much as the fact that such a broadly appealing mainstream thrill ride should be released so unceremoniously as this, almost as if it were being done to fulfill contractual obligations. It’s nowhere near the embarrassment of Brian De Palma’s “Domino,” or any number of recent studio tentpoles. Nor is it fresh enough to pretend that audiences had missed out on something special if it had been buried altogether — except perhaps for Luss, who’s bound to get another shot.
RogerEbert.com, Peter Sobczynski (June 21, 2019)
Helen Mirren, evidently using this film as an audition reel for the role of Edna in the inevitable live-action remake of “The Incredibles.” “Anna” is so aimless and listless that you can hardly believe that he was even on the set for the majority of its production. All he has to offer here is the aforementioned two decent action scenes, some interesting underwear and a Helen Mirren performance that is mildly amusing, though it will not take up too much time in any future Lifetime Achievement highlight reels.
The Hollywood Reporter, John DeFore (June 20, 2019)
Helen Mirren, the film’s first spark of life. Cillian Murphy is as jarring in his role as Mirren — they’re too lively and intelligent to play the film’s color-by-numbers game, and look like they might be working an angle: What if they just keep being the only people worth watching until Besson decides to pivot, making this a Tinker, Tailor-style game of string-pulling spymasters? No such luck.
The Los Angeles Times, Noel Murray (June 20, 2019)
“Anna”’s underlying themes just don’t resonate as they’re meant to. The film falters when it tries to be an aspirational tale, about a woman tired of being shuffled from one “grey box” to another (from a pauper’s apartment to a military academy to a cramped models’ condo), and who’s exhausted by the piggish fashion photographers and demanding spy-masters who dominate her days.
The Toronto Star, Peter Howell (June 20, 2019)
Olga, played by Helen Mirren, is one sharp shot of vodka. She lights her cigarettes with a grenade-shaped lighter and tells a story of having once walked for three days in the woods with a wolf trap attached to her leg. “Trouble never sends a warning,” she advises Anna. Olga functions as both a serious figure of menace and comic relief. Mirren sheathes her character’s intentions behind a granite visage that suggests what Fran Lebowitz would look like as a Bond villain. Dark humour ripples through Besson’s jigsaw screenplay. Spy fans will be amused at one discussion about how best to cut off a hapless victim’s finger, to avoid casting suspicion of CIA involvement.