The Dove Take:
Anna is a movie about a woman with lethal skills, with a view to too many kills and so over-the-top it’ll leave you green at the gills.
Beneath Anna Poliatova’s striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of the world’s most feared government assassins.
Nothing is quite what it seems in Anna, a movie that tap-dances between the present and a fill-in-the-details past in ways reminiscent of, say, Pulp Fiction. A woman who appears to be a French top-fashion model (Sasha Luss) turns out to be an undercover, lethal, ring-up-the-body-count KGB assassin in ways eerily reminiscent of La Femme Nikita, which shouldn’t be all that surprising given that the same imagination— Luc Besson’s—is responsible for both movies.
This movie has so many reasons why it can’t be Dove-Approved, you’re bound to agree with one: Over-the-top violence? Check. Coarse language? Check. Sex? Check. Drugs? Check. Amid all the action and gore, there’s a sad undertone, because, at heart, Anna’s a woman trapped and trying to find her way out. The KGB traps her into doing its bidding, with Dame Helen Mirren and Luke Evans playing her handlers, the no-nonsense Olga and Alex Tchenkov. An American CIA agent named Lenny Miller (Cillian Murphy) blackmails her into doing his bidding and makes her a double agent.
The saying “live by the sword, die by the sword” comes to mind here—which is what Jesus told Peter when the disciple thought he would prevent his Master from being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and could secure His freedom by slicing off a scoundrel’s ear. But no matter what the weapon of choice is—and in this movie, Anna is forced to improvise on the spot, using everything from bullets and borrowed guns to cutlery and broken china —you simply can’t kill your way to freedom.