Movie Review - Anna
Director Jorge Dorado's 2014 psychological thriller, Anna, is a tangled maze of twists and turns through the psyche of a young girl and the man assigned to help her. Penned by Guy and Martha Holmes, the film is reminiscent of the classic films of Hitchcock with a bit of a sci-fi twist. The movie keeps us on our toes, leaving us to constantly wonder - who is the one being manipulated? And while the performances are strong, the story is well-written, and the direction of the film is first-rate, the movie ends up being more predictable than I would have liked. Still, it's worthwhile in my opinion to see another entry into the new-wave of Spanish American throwback style thrillers, like Eugenio Mira's Grand Piano. And it's an impressive outing for a first time director. The film is available on VOD.
John Washington is a memory detective, a person that is able to observe and guide another through their memories. For years, he used this ability to help the police solve crimes, but his career takes a hit when he suffers a stroke during one of his sessions. In desperate need of a job, his supervisor assigns him a new case. John is sent to visit a young girl named Anna, to determine whether she is the victim of a trauma or a sociopath. And as John tries to help her, he is drawn into her head - but he is unable to decide if her memories real or fabricated. And soon the line between fantasy and reality is blurred, and John learns that he may not be in control of the situation after all.
The film is anchored by extremely solid performances by its' lead actors. Mark Strong is wonderfully damaged as John. His self-doubt is torturous to watch and yet, it permeates every frame of the movie with it's looming presence. Teissa Farmiga has already established herself as an adept genre actress after several seasons of American Horror Story under her belt, but here she shows even more maturity than ever. She shifts easily between a naive sincerity and a cold detachment that keep us guessing as an audience. And finally, Brain Cox is as fantastic as ever, ably masking his possible involvement in the events unfolding in Anna's memory. The talent level of the cast is undeniable. And while the film is definitely clever, and sends us on a roller coaster ride straight out of M. Night Shymalan's wildest nightmare, the ending fails to close every loophole and winds up being less surprising than I initially expected. All the same, this film is worth watching if only for the presentation of the material and the performances themselves. Enjoy.
- Leo Francis