“I, Anna” is the latest film by Independent production company ‘Artificial Eye’. It follows a woman, Anna (Charlotte Rampling), who is searching for love at speed dating meetings.The film also follows a gentleman, Bernie Reid (Gabriel Byrne), who is the lead detective on a murder case. As you may have guessed, both Anna and Bernie’s paths cross when she becomes a suspect in his murder enquiry.
The film has been described as a ‘dark and powerful tale of two lovers whose destinies collide during a murder investigation’ and is deemed to be a ‘Noir Thriller’.
As much as I would love to say that this description is correct, I would be deceiving myself. Though it may sound harsh, for me “I,Anna” was about as dark and powerful as ‘Finding Nemo’ and I felt a far greater sense of suspense when watching Vittorio De Sica’s, “The Bicycle Thief”.
Throughout the film there was a constant sense of inevitability. I think of myself as a bit of a Miss Marple when it comes to deciphering who the perpetrator is in a “whodunnit” but, alas, I didn’t even get to don a floppy felt hat because, in the first 5 minutes, the entire audience had established who the murderer was…
Despite this ‘thriller’ lacking the vital ‘thrill-factor’ (thereby creating the new “Er” film genre…), I have to emphasise how marvellous the acting was. Charlotte Rampling played a thoroughly convincing older working woman, (at John Lewis Oxford Street to be precise) thoroughly confused by the dilemma confronting her – should she follow societal conventions and find herself a new partner, or should she continue to face the world alone?
In classic Rampling style, there were several “out there” and potentially cringe-enducing scenes (perhaps that was just me?) but, as usual, good ol’ Charlotte got stuck in. Byrne was equally convincing in his role as DCI Reid, the lonely detective who ‘found love in a hopeless place’ (always knew Rhianna’s lyrics would come in handy!). He managed to capture perfectly his character’s waning enthusiasm for his job, which seemed to stem from a recently failed marriage.
As well as the first-class acting, I would like to highlight the superb choice of locations and range of camera angles. Southcombe states that he ‘loves French cinema from the 70s and early 80s’ and the use of location shooting and the filmic style do bear a lot of resemblance to European cinema around that time (and even in previous years).
The use of close-ups really engaged the audience and added drama to a sequence, which was otherwise fairly ordinary; for example, a glass being placed on a table is an everyday occurrence, but when one is viewing a close-up of a glass being placed on a table, it automatically gives it a sense of purpose.
Similarly, the minimal number of locations enabled the audience to follow the goings on with relative ease. In all honesty, I felt somewhat betrayed by “I, Anna”. The trailer was so fantastically gripping (due to the brilliant editing) but unfortunately the film didn’t follow suit.
As I left the screening, frustration was my prevailing emotion, because this film had a gargantuan amount of potential… If you’re interested in film and would like to see a modern release that’s clearly been heavily inspired by classic European cinema, then this may be something you would enjoy; but it was just too progressive for me. I enjoyed the first and last five minutes, the other 83 minutes appeared to be rather irrelevant.
I, Anna is released in the UK on 7th December