Some dismiss Luc Bresson films as mindless action movies with a glossy veneer of sexy artsy-ness. To which I’d respond with, “What’s so awful about mindless action movies with a glossy veneer of sexy artsy-ness?”
La Femme Nikita, The Transporter, Lucy, The Professional…not a terrible resume, IMHO. I’ll blame myself for not knowing enough about the cloud of abuse allegations leveled against writer-producer-director Bresson to take a position, much less purge his films from my watch list. And that list includes his well-known projects and some that slipped in and out of theaters pretty quickly.
Case in point: Anna, the stylish 2019 action thriller starring Sasha Luss as KGB assassin Anna Poliatova. Real-life fashion model Luss originally aimed to be a professional ballet dancer till she was sidelined by an injury in her tweens, soon turning to modeling (which she still does pretty well at) and then acting, Anna being her second film project. Here she plays a young Russian woman who escapes years of domestic abuse by making a deal with the devil: Undergo grueling KGB training, give them five years, and after that she can go free. Working undercover as a Paris fashion model (a real stretch for Luss), Anna’s particularly good at what she does (kill people) until her cover’s blown. Reluctantly agreeing to become a double agent for the CIA, Anna now faces a dizzying series of double-crosses and betrayals before she finally breaks free…or at least, achieves some sort of fragile truce.
Some regard Anna as a derivative and inferior version of Bresson’s own La Femme Nikita (one hell of a film, as was its U.S. adaptation, Point Of No Return). I won’t argue, but I also don’t care. Anna is easy on the eyes, packed full of Luc Bresson’s trademarked action sequences, and even deploys credible costars like Helen Mirren, Cillian Murphy and Luke Evans.
Mindless action with a glossy veneer of sexy artsy-ness? Well, yeah..it pretty much is.
And that’s a problem?