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‘Anna’ (2013) Movie Review

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A man with the ability to enter peoples’ memories takes on the case of a brilliant, troubled sixteen-year-old girl to determine whether she is a sociopath or a victim of trauma.

Anna opens theatrically on June 6 in Los Angeles, New York, and major cities. The film is available now via iTunes and VOD.

Director, Jorge Dorado, choose a rather ordinary psychological thriller for his feature debut, but with his obvious skill and two very talented actors, this standard thriller packs a harder punch. Mark Strong plays John, a “mind detective”, a human lie detector if you will, that has the ability to step inside our minds to witness a reported memory. This comes in very helpful in many court cases, often times damning or acquitting those accused. After two years off the job, still recovering from a loss, John finds himself struggling to step back into his former position. I like the concept of a mind detective, despite it sounding completely terrifying in real life. John finds the game has changed, adding an extra layer of risk to an already sensitive game.

Our detective is assigned to the case of Anna (Taissa Farmiga), a teenage daughter of big money, who is subjecting herself to an unspecified hunger strike. John finds his subject to be of above average intelligence and becomes oddly intrigued by her confidence and frailty. He befriends the struggling girl and enters her mind after Anna’s interest in the procedure is piqued. Once inside, I found the film to be lacking inspiration. Anna’s memories are stitched together in a rather flat, muted tone. Despite the intriguing concept, I found the execution of the literal mind meld to be dull. Once inside, the film begins a thematic round of cat and mouse that feels richer than it really is, and that’s because of the magnetic Strong and Farmiga.

The writing is timidly paced, never fully giving itself over to the heady subject. In the hands of a weak director, not even the raw talent could help. While I greatly enjoyed the burgeoning relationship between John and Anna, the payout wasn’t on par. The end of the film, hurdling over the standard issue twists, stumbles repeatedly before providing at least partly satisfying closure. Anna is just okay in my book. I think the interesting idea lacked any new thrills or twists, and it once again remains passable thanks to the cast and director. If a powerful script was at the core of Anna, we’d all be recommending this to our friends. Sadly, this isn’t the case.

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