Sunday, 17 February 2013

I, Anna (2012) - Barnaby Southcombe

Great slow burning London set crime drama that for once doesn’t involve gangs of hoodies talking in a language that no English speaking person over the age of thirty can understand, nor does it involve shooters, there’s no tart with a heart, no swearing, no Danny Dyer and no silly action scenes. Instead we get that old fashioned thing of actors, for want of a better word - acting.

Charlotte Rampling is middle aged lonely heart Anna Welles and Gabriel Byrne is D.C.I. Bernie Reid investigating the murder of George Stone (played by the always value for money Ralph Brown). Anna and George meet up at a singles night and by the next morning George is dead. Bernie clocks Anna and being recently separated himself decides to try his chances with her. Throw into the mix Hayley Atwell as Anna’s daughter and Eddie Marsan as one of the flatfoots working the murder with Bernie and you have a seriously decent cast.

Written and directed by Rampling’s son Barnaby Southcombe this is a slice of modern noir set in and around London’s Barbican. The acting is top notch, not at all showy, with Rampling in particular giving a note perfect performance. At it’s heart I, Anna is a murder mystery, but an old fashioned one without the yawnable multiple twists we’ve become so accustomed too. In fact the ending feels right on the money, well earned if you like. Southcombe directs the whole thing with a keen eye but never allows his camera to take center stage, everything is geared to serving his script and allowing the cast to do their stuff.

It’s always a treat to see actresses over a certain age up on the screen in an interesting role. It seems to be that in Hollywood once the wrinkles set in then for some reason there’s no work for actresses as a leading character. It’s all mad aunts and grandma’s, which is a pretty tragic state of affairs and one that probably goes quite a way to explaining just why so many of them feel the need to have the dreaded plastic surgery. Anyway I’m drifting a little here, so to get back to the film I’d say this is a must see. Unpredictable in a way so few films are nowadays, if that sounds like your cup of tea then I'd say it's well worth taking a punt if you get the chance to.

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