I, Anna (2012)
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A must for all who love noirish thrillers, Southcombe's directorial debut features a stellar cast, headed by Charlotte Rampling and Gabriel Byrne. Rampling plays the titular character, who may hold the key to a murder investigation being conducted by Byrne's insomniac detective, as she was at the apartment of the victim on the night of his death. Anna's perspective on the crime makes us doubt the truth of what we see, which makes for a compelling psychological mystery.
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Critic Reviews for I, Anna
The problem is the script, adapted from a novel and full of psychological gaps and dead-ends.
It's atmospherically photographed by Ben Smithard. But the plot is too thin for the big screen; it may have suited TV more.
Barnaby Southcombe makes a distinguished directorial debut with this stylish and atmospheric film noir.
Barnaby Southcombe's very promising debut feature stars his mother, Charlotte Rampling, as a lonely woman in late middle age, reaching out for love.
Next time out, Southcombe should get someone else to write the screenplay ...
Even though this British mystery-drama is rather too creepy for its own good, it gives Rampling yet another superb character to sink her teeth into.
Like the traditional femme fatale, Anna leaves you wanting to know more.
To have worked, this story needed a super-professional story-telling genius such as Alfred Hitchcock. Instead, it gets an arty novice who apparently wants to be the new Andrei Tarkovsky.
[A] gloss of edgy noirish elegance cannot disguise the fact that this is yet one more tiresome example of the thriller subgenre that posits that the most interesting thing that a woman can be is out of her mind.
The drama is played with absolute conviction by Rampling and Byrne, and there is a nice supporting role for Eddie Marsan as Byrne's long-suffering Met colleague, but the story itself is unconvincing.
There's some good location work around the Barbican, but the plot's a bit derelict and Rampling's performance gets increasingly loco.
The London locations are well-used but this has the dabs of a first attempt all over it.
A classy, enigmatic thriller that shows off contemporary London at its cinematic best.
Both actors are superb. And the story, while perhaps a little too slight for the big screen, delivers more than enough surprises to keep its audience hooked.
You could say it's a film that would play just as comfortably on television. But the clever writing, understated performances and slick editing more than make up for it.
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