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|Index||13 reviews in total|
The erroneous synopsis to this stylish if slightly flawed thriller, does not do the intricate, complex story the justice it deserves. Barnaby Southcombe's debut feature is an adaption of Elsa Lewin's dark novel of the same name. Shot in various locations around London, it unravels the story of the relationship between a high ranking detective (Gabriel Byrne) investigating the murder of a no good low life, and a middle aged divorcée, Charlotte Rampling, with whom he develops a potentially damaging obsession. The film unfolds slowly but is worth the wait. The film engages the viewer as the pace quickens and story intensifies and things just gets better and better. Strong performances from the two stars as one would expect. A wonderful vehicle for Charlotte Rampling to prove a woman over 50 can be just as sexy and alluring as any 25 year old, she is totally convincing as the fragile, complex protagonist. And a real treat to have Eddie Marsan on screen, every film is improved by his presence, never puts a foot wrong, superb. London is a stylish but never overwhelming backdrop to this pleasing contemporary film noir. And a cracking soundtrack too...
Enjoyed this film. Thought it had an interesting take on London,
showing us a different city to the one often seen in films. The
stylised way it was shot might be too much for some people but I really
liked it and felt it gave the film a great atmosphere. London looked
Add to that some subtle and nuanced performances, particularly from Charlotte Rampling who really carries it. She was superb. There are some weaknesses and it won't be a film that appeals to everyone but if you do fancy watching something that requires you to think, is atmospheric, beautifully filmed and acted then I, Anna is worth watching.
I, Anna is an above average film noir atmospherically filmed in London.
The usual noir elements are present: the cop with a failed marriage,
the female suspect with whom the cop falls in love, nice use of London
locations and cinematography to match it. The two leads are expertly
played by seasoned actors Gabriel Byrne and Charlotte Rampling. It is a
promising debut for Barnaby Southcombe, who has added a new element in
his adaptation of the source novel, which has given greater depth to
the story and characters.
A trivia point: Barnaby Southcombe is the real life son of Charlotte Rampling!
This is a brilliantly crafted and paced film with a deep understanding of the Noir genre. It also contributes to the very small canon of films that depict mature female screen characters, rarely seen in the UK fictional media. The cinematography is acute and the lighting extraordinary. the music bold and moody noir. The denouement is not predictable, even though you think it might be, and it taps deeply into real emerging social issues in the UK - so even though noir is often style over content there is a real message to this film which works on you long after the viewing. But the world it creates is steady, fascinating and waiting for you....
I was tempted to give this 10/10 simply to compensate for the idiots who gave this film 1 and 2 out of 10. I didn't ultimately but it gives me the sh*ts when I see people unfairly rating down a film. With an average 6/10 I might not have watched this - and it was a genuinely decent film. The story is coherent and the plot competent. The way in which the central event of the film is slowly revealed is sophisticated and worked well. Both Charlotte Rampling and Gabriel Byrne are top rate leading actors and both do a good job. Rampling's performance was particularly convincing. Casting mature actors in these lead roles (without making a big thing about it) was quite believable and worked really well. The setting, the cinematography, the late-night London insomniac noir all create a compelling atmosphere. It's a genre film and, as such, isn't fabulously original, but is nonetheless well worth watching.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Any film starring Charlotte Rampling is worth watching just for her
presence alone even after nearly fifty years in the movies, she still
adds an enigmatic quality that's hard to define.
She is very much centre stage in "I, Anna". Not so surprising really, it was directed by her son, Barnaby Southcombe, who, it must be said, directed his mum in some pretty challenging scenes.
The story is complex and hard to follow. Although it does make more sense by the end, it isn't by much. It is also a film that may have visited the "is it real or is it just imagination" plot just one time too many.
The story has a number of strands that eventually wind together. Anna Welles (Charlotte Rampling) is searching for a relationship through a speed-dating club run by Louise (Caroline Catz). She lives with her daughter, Emmy (Hayley Atwell) and baby grand daughter or does she?
Gabriel Byrne as policeman, DCI Bernie Reid, is investigating the murder of a middle-aged man in a high-rise apartment. During the course of his investigation, he meets Anna in the apartment building, but later, she doesn't remember the occasion at all. Reid follows Anna and joins the dating club to make contact with her.
The film also involves a young guy who shared the unit with the murdered man. However, without giving too much of the plot away, I feel that Anna and DCI Reid's motivations remain unclear even at the end. Is she a femme fatale or just delusional? Is he captivated by her or just using an unorthodox method to solve the murder case? The film is just too obscure all the way through like a sketch that needed a lot more colour and brushwork to finish it off.
A movie such as "I, Anna" must also compete with first class, movie-length television series such as "Vera", "Lewis" and "Wallander" to name just a few, which have complicated, well thought out plots and brilliant characterisations the competition is hefty, and I don't think "I, Anna", after a promising start, really ups the ante all that much.
Despite the presence of the perennially enigmatic Charlotte Rampling, the story is just too thin, and has a denouement that we've seen before in other movies.
There are so many strands that make up the story, and very little to
connect them together. But it is well worth watching a second (or more)
time just to get the whole picture (!)
Charlotte Rampling is so good, so convincing as the middle-aged woman, now separated and living with a daughter and grandchild. But there is a past incident, very important to what else is happening, briefly referred to a couple of times that isn't really explained - perhaps a tragedy involving another child?
Every now and then, there is a flashback with Anna now wearing a bright red dress. That's a signal to us to change our focus and concentrate and try to join the scenes together.
Gabriel Byrne is the cop who becomes attracted (no surprise there!) to Anna. A very good performance.
Passably interesting drama concerning a woman, Anna (Charlotte
Rampling), attempting to find another partner - she frequents singles
gatherings - and a detective, Bernie (Gabriel Byrne), coming off a
marriage separation, who pass each other at a ground-floor, elevator
door of an apartment building in which a man has been battered to death
overnight in one of the lodgings.
Bernie finds an umbrella, in the elevator, which Anna forgot about as she walked away. Instead of returning the item, Bernie, later on, traces her car license, establishes her address and sets about meeting her again - at one of those singles gatherings. All this while he's investigating - actually, getting his number two, Kevin (the always-terrific Eddie Marsan), to carry the load - said gruesome murder. A sub-plot about a teenager needing money to pay back dealers muddies the waters, so to speak, implicating him as a suspect in the murder of the man - who happens to be his father; and who is, incidentally, a most unpleasant character.
As the main plot unfolds, we see - in flashback - what Anna did at her previous singles thingy, the night before; which also begins to suggest she might be involved with the murder. But, how? Well, that's what Bernie frantically tries to find out. And which I'll leave you to enjoy at your leisure. The denouement, however, will give you pause to think about just how well you know - or ever can know - another person.
Rampling always performs well in heavy dramas; in this, she does better than other roles she's had. Byrne, over the years, just seems to get parts that meld perfectly with his laid back - some might call it lazy - style of acting. Indeed, Bernie appears to be almost sleep-walking much of the time. The stand-out, though, in this offering is Eddie Marsan who, unfortunately, is not used enough; always a pleasure to watch his performance. The rest of the cast is uniformly good.
As for the movie's director of this well-constructed movie, it's more than interesting to note that Barnaby Southcombe is actually Rampling's son. Nothing like keeping things in the family, I guess....
If ten is top prize, this gets five.
July 26, 2015.
Charlotte Rampling stars in I, Anna from 2012, directed by her son
Barnaby Southcombe, who also wrote the screenplay.
It's the rather disjointed, noir-ish story of a woman, Anna (Rampling) and her relationship with a police detective Bernie Reid (Gabriel Byrne) who is searching for a killer. He becomes obsessed with Anna, who is attractive, sexy, divorced, with a daughter and granddaughter.
Charlotte Rampling has always been a unique actress. She's kind of a modern-day Lauren Bacall, androgynous, a wonderful actress who has allowed herself to age like a normal human being. Here she shows her sexuality and her beauty as the audience learns more and more about her.
The film skips around a lot and can be confusing at times. There is also a character, a young guy, who has no reason to be in the movie at all. Not only is his subplot not developed, we never find out how it ends.
Actually we don't find out how anything ends in this film. We think that someone is going to explain everything that went on but they don't.
If the photography is strange, it's also beautifully done. There's no question that Barnaby Southcombe has talent; it just needs to be developed a little more. With a better script and with all the fine actors in the film, this could have been a knockout.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Love seems to be blinding in this tepid suspense film featuring the
world weary presence of Charlotte Rampling and Gabriel Byrne operating
with distracted lonely hearts. While they may have an excuse director
Barnaby Southcombe has none as his smoke and mirror distractions to
deny the stretched out obvious story line along with a poorly edited
far fetched finale that smacks of modern day DW Griffith, the dating
Anna Welles (Rampling) readies herself for another round of a singles get together. Divorced and in her 50s she meets George and goes back to his apartment with him. He's later found dead. Detective Bernie Reid (Byrne)runs into her the next day near the scene retrieving an umbrella and again at the dating session where she does not recall meeting him (Hmmmm?). Director Southcombe direction is ambitious but with weak material as it offers up a couple of drab alibis in a surly pair of marginals that are clearly a long shot as we begin to piece together the unstable psyche of Anna. Seasoned investigator Reid should clearly know better but remains clueless and goes rogue over a woman he only thinks he knows after a few meetings. In addition to the murder Southcombe makes a statement about aging and the demeaning speed dating game as well as make victim George a justifiable homicide. Another tragedy precedes as well to cloud matters but compelling as it is it adds little to the mystery and the fact Anna is one forgetful lady that might be forgiven for a lot of things.
Rampling understated look and sound of indifference usually controls the mood of most of her films. Here she is wasted, her performance for the most part catatonic. Byrne's histrionics at the end wake up a dull performance best left sleeping, while Eddie Marsan's cop associate could use some sedation. Perhaps the film's finest moment and performance is the cameo of Honor Blackman as Joan putting on her game face in a ladies room and pointedly summing up the way it is.
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