|Film review: I, Anna|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Wednesday, 05 December 2012 17:02|
Director: Barnaby Southcombe
Charlotte Rampling as a seductive femme fatale? Yes, this is still the year 2012 – and yes, Rampling has still got it. Strolling through London in a trench coat, her mysterious woman dots around singles nights with a tiny grin. One morning, she meets DCI Bernie Reed (Byrne) in an elevator. He’s gruff, lonely and equally hot – yes, Byrne has still got it too. So when these two mature performers get it on together, I, Anna should sizzle. Instead, it bores.
Barnaby Southcombe’s film, an adaptation of a novel by Elsa Lewin, presents itself as a film noir. The script, though, is closer to an ITV play, a predictable psychological drama with honking twists that you can hear a mile off.
It's a shame, because the rest of the film isn’t bad at all. When he isn’t eyeing up Rampling’s perfectly-formed legs, Southcombe’s sense of location is top-notch, shooting London with a dark, neon anonymity that makes the UK capital look more like Michael Mann’s L.A. Over the top of the moody skyline, Richard Hawley’s soundtrack adds a mellow, melancholic vibe. But the production soon starts to upstage the story.
Byrne broods his way through as the grizzled detective, while Rampling’s suspect glides along with a suitably dazed expression, but corny flashbacks revealing what happened on the night of a murder try hard to ruin any surprises their relationship might hold – sadly, they succeed.
It’s great to see two old hats take centre stage for a change (Eddie Marsan as Byrne’s colleague steals scenes from the wings), but when you care more about the place than the people, there’s something amiss underneath the surface. After half an hour of psychological exploration, you wish they'd stop digging. For all its hard-boiled aspirations, I, Anna is a soft-boiled mess.