×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

I, Anna

Not even Charlotte Rampling can keep "I, Anna" from playing more like "Oy, Anna."

With:
Anna Welles - Charlotte Rampling
DCI Bernie Reid - Gabriel Byrne
DI Kevin Franks - Eddie Marsan
Janet Stone - Jodhi May
George Stone - Ralph Brown
Stevie - Max Deacon
Joan - Honor Blackman
Emmy - Hayley Atwell
(English dialogue)

Not even a typically committed performance by Charlotte Rampling can keep “I, Anna” from playing more like “Oy, Anna.” A risibly convoluted London noir about an aging divorcee whose severe case of the lonelyhearts sends her careening from one fatally bad decision after another, this feature debut by Rampling’s son, TV/theater helmer Barnaby Southcombe, does a predictable, preposterous story no favors by making it do non-sequential narrative cartwheels. Classy lead pairing of Rampling and Gabriel Byrne will ensure some offshore sales, but poor word of mouth looks to keep arthouse biz at a trickle.

After an opening scene in which Anna (Rampling) makes an increasingly desperate phone call, the content and significance of which won’t be revealed until later down the road, the film winds its way back in time to the point where her troubles began. Still not quite over her divorce from a significantly younger man, Anna attends a speed-dating function in London, where she gets chatted up by bachelor George Stone (Ralph Brown).

Some time later, it seems, Anna has a brief run-in with a detective, Bernie (Byrne), who is investigating a bloody murder at a nearby high-rise. Despite this inauspicious beginning, Bernie can’t get the gravely elegant Anna out of his mind and winds up following her into another speed-dating event, where they bond over stories about their respective failed marriages in a moodily romantic sequence set to one of several soundtrack contributions by British singer-songwriter Richard Hawley.

It’s at this point that the flashbacks start coming fast and thick, as the film (adapted from a 1990 novel by Elsa Lewin) begins to piece together details of the crime Bernie is trying to solve, never mind that even halfway attentive viewers will have solved it five minutes ago. Also in the mix are a troubled young lad (Max Deacon) and his mother (Jodhi May), whose connection to the dead man is nothing short of a red herring. Perhaps most egregiously, there are glimpses of Anna’s happy home life with her daughter (Hayley Atwell) and granddaughter, scenes that seem to have been thrown in for the sole purpose of compounding tragedy with tragedy at the film’s overwrought climax.

Through it all, Rampling tempers her usually steely affect with a heartrending vulnerability that keeps you watching, even when the film heaps so many indignities and so much ill fortune on Anna that it starts to play like a demented cautionary tale about the potential pitfalls of looking for love in one’s twilight years. Thesp conjures a nice crackle of chemistry with Byrne, although the script would have done well to make Bernie less of a sad sack.

Moodily lensed in widescreen in London and Hamburg, Germany, the film at times goes for a deliberately blurred, impressionistic look, adding some widescreen smudges but little in the way of creepiness or tension. Editing scheme, however dictated by the contours of the script, is misguided.

I, Anna

U.K.-Germany-France

Production: A Global Screen and Exponential Media presentation in association with Greenstreet Entertainment, FFHSH and DFFF of an Embargo Films, Riva Film, Arsam Intl. production. (International sales: Global Screen, Munich.) Produced by Felix Vossen, Christopher Simon, Michael Eckelt, Ilann Girard. Executive producers, Paul Steadman, Thorsten Ritter. Co-producer, Jo Burn. Directed, written by Barnaby Southcombe, based on the novel by Elsa Lewin.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Ben Smithard; editor, Peter Boyle; music, Kid; production designer, Tom Burton; art director, Astrid Sieben; set decorator, Barbara Herman-Skelding; costume designer, Pam Downe; sound, Giancarlo Dellapina; stunt coordinator, Tom Lucy; assistant director, Mike O'Regan; casting, Gail Stevens. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale Special), Feb. 11, 2012. Running time: 91 MIN.

Cast: Anna Welles - Charlotte Rampling
DCI Bernie Reid - Gabriel Byrne
DI Kevin Franks - Eddie Marsan
Janet Stone - Jodhi May
George Stone - Ralph Brown
Stevie - Max Deacon
Joan - Honor Blackman
Emmy - Hayley Atwell
(English dialogue)

More Scene

  • James Marsden attends the 2019 MOCA

    New Abortion Ban Laws Take Center Stage at MOCA Gala

    Forty years ago in Los Angeles, the decision to invest millions in a museum dedicated exclusively to contemporary art — not to mention its formerly desolate downtown location, where the vibe was more apocalyptic than artsy — was a risky proposition. But now that the city’s cultural heart has shifted south of Hollywood, it seems [...]

  • Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment,

    Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment, Imprisonment for Trump, Says Maybe Al Pacino Should Lead Instead

    Robert De Niro honored Al Pacino, his longtime friend and four-time collaborator (with Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film “The Irishman” marking their latest pairing), at the American Icon Awards, and then called for a different type of tribute for President Donald Trump — “impeachment and imprisonment.” “You didn’t think you were going to completely get away without [...]

  • Millie Bobby Brown on Her Feature

    Millie Bobby Brown Calls Her Film Debut in 'Godzilla' 'Kind of Unreal'

    Millie Bobby Brown is no stranger to stardom thanks to “Stranger Things,” but she still can’t believe she’s making her feature film debut in the monster reboot “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” “It’s kind of unreal,” Brown told Variety at the premiere. “I’m like, ‘What is happening right now?’ It’s so bizarre and unreal, and [...]

  • CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 19: Robert

    Robert Pattinson Helps HFPA Donate $500,000 to Refugee Organization at Cannes Event

    The Hollywood Foreign Press Association proved in Cannes Sunday night that the Golden Globes aren’t the only festive bash it can pull off each year. At the glamorous Nikki Beach party held in association with Participant Media, the HFPA donated $500,000 to international aid organization Help Refugees. Co-hosts Robert Pattinson and Helen Mirren along with Quentin [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Alexis Martin Woodall, Ryan

    Peabody Winners Talk Empowered Women and Social Justice Challenges on Red Carpet

    The theme on the red carpet at the 78th annual Peabody Awards? Empowering women. On Saturday, Peabody winners gathered at Cipriani Wall Street, and one of the hot topics on everyone’s mind was the wave of female empowerment spreading across the industry. From Peabody’s Career Achievement Award recipient Rita Moreno to shows like ‘Killing Eve’ [...]

  • CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 18:

    Cannes: Robert Pattinson, Shailene Woodley Attend Starry Vanity Fair Party

    It’s true what they say about Batman being a loner. On Saturday night, Robert Pattinson made his first public appearance since being cast as the new Dark Knight at this year’s Vanity Fair Party at the Cannes Film Festival. But while all the other A-list guests mingled and worked the crowd at the restaurant of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content