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Anna–A Woman Warrior a la “La Femme Nikita”?

This unexpectedly stylish action movie from  French filmmaker Luc Besson opens in 1990 at a local Moscow market.  Anna, a  beautiful young Russian (Sasha Luss), is selling Matryoshka nesting dolls.  A talent scout offers her work in a Paris modeling agency, a chance for her to leave a future of poverty in a relationship with  an abusive, violent thief.

As Anna  progresses,  Anna’s life improves: as  a popular model in Paris–particularly with Russian oligarchs. A  KGB agent (Luke Evans from The Alienist) recognizes her  utility as a covert spy and she gets his boss’s approval, the intimidating, imperious Olga (a virtually unrecognizable Helen Mirren).  Anna only agrees on the condition that she will be free to leave after five years of service. 

Her beauty, talent, and steely reserve appear to reflect  an undeveloped moral universe.  To take advantage of her precarious position as a target by almost everyone who desires her,  an American CIA agent, Lenny Miller (Cillian Murphy of Oppenheimer and Peaky Blinders) also offers her freedom: if she works for the CIA.  

Now the  fragmented time structure rewinds between the two double-agent capers, with backstories explaining what leads to the current situation.  And who can argue with a girl who wants to be free, even  for just six months, because she has  never been free in her life.

Surprised by the lack of marketing and lukewarm reviews by critics!  Anna is an “under-the-radar” winner for those who like this genre:  more story than John Wick or the later Mission Impossible sequels.  Will remind the viewer of La Femme Nikita (1990), also a film by Luc Besson. Overall, a well-executed action film.

Very enjoyable to watch!  Perhaps a  bit predictable in some scenes but a  very complicated, edgy surprise ending for an action film.  Highly entertaining; never a dull moment.

Availability:  Amazon Prime

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