Today: May 18, 2024

I, Anna DVD

If a film’s merit were based on how atmospherically it was shot I, Anna, with its grimy Barbican tower blocks, would be an instant classic

If a film’s merit
were based on how atmospherically it was shot I, Anna, with its grimy Barbican
tower blocks, would be an instant classic.
It has a lot going for it –
beautiful camerawork, two brilliant leads and everything about it is so stylish
that you want to put it on your back and wear it. But it’s not a thrill a
minute, so if you like your films fast moving – go elsewhere.

The latest case of DCI Bernie Reid (Gabriel Byrne) is the vicious murder of a man in a London flat. In
the throws of a divorce and an insomniac, Reid’s mind could be more focused on
the job. He gets further waylaid when the lonely divorcee Anna (Charlotte Rampling) walks fleetingly into
his life. A divorcee, Anna has a penchant for speed dating evenings and heading
home with the men she meets.

She and Reid meet again at an awkward dating event but, oddly,
Anna pretends she’s never set eyes on Reid. However, there is a mutual spark there
and their relationship develops, calling the detective’s professional ethics
into question. A dark truth slowly begins to unveil itself as we learn that the
enigmatic Anna was at the apartment the night the victim was bloodily murdered.
The viewer sees the crime from her perspective, and that unique psychological
angle gives I, Anna much of its air of mystery, but the slow revelation of what
happened that night is a little unclear and frustratingly played out.

At the risk of upsetting people who instantly detest the
word, this is an ‘arthouse’ movie with a palpably European sensibility, Rampling playing another of the brave
roles that have defined her career. It was shot in both London and
Hamburg but could as easily have been the France of the Three Colours Trilogy
by Krzysztof Kieślowski.

I, Anna would be a hard-sell for the commercial viewing
audience as there isn’t enough crash-bang-wallop, but its languid air of
mystery succeeds in getting under the skin. A promising cinematic debut by TV
director Barnaby Southcombe
(Rampling’s son, Southcombe’s eye for colour and composition is the real star here),
this is a must for lovers of the noir thriller. But you can’t help feeling the
story itself isn’t quite worth 90 minutes of screen time.

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