Charlotte Rampling, Gabriel Byrne, Eddie Marsan,
Hayley Atwell, Honor Blackman, Jodhi May, Bill Milner
3 stars (out of 5)
Favoured by students as the go-to genre for film projects
and academic study, film noir wouldn't be the safest bet for a
debut feature, especially when you cast your mum as the femme
fatale. But that is what Barnaby Southcombe has courageously
done and for the most part, I, Anna receives a highly
Adapting Elsa Lewin's novel of the same name, Southcombe
decided his mother, Charlotte Rampling, would be perfect in
the role of Anna Welles.
Rampling, at 66, might raise a few eyebrows as a seductress,
but once she dons an ever-present trench coat to show off a
set of shapely pins, the pieces fall nicely into place.
The object of Welle's romantic interest is DCI Bernie Reid
(Gabriel Byrne), an insomniac divorcee struggling to piece
together a murder in a London apartment block. After a chance
encounter close to the scene, Reid at first fails to connect
Welles with the crime.
From snippets of Welles' flashbacks and a gradual layering of
clues, we are primed to expect all is not as it seems.
Although, as deliberately obscure as Southcombe is with the
finer points of Welles' muddled memory, there is enough
interest in his stylised vision of inner-city London to keep
you hanging in there to find out where the loose threads come
Add to that, the ease with which Byrne and Rampling
romantically engage, and it's not too hard to suspend a bit
of disbelief, brush off the odd red herring and get swept up
in Southcombe's all-too-clever reveal.
Best thing: Honor Blackman's crafty cameo.
Worst thing: Being a little too "smart" for its own
See it with: Anyone old enough to remember Honor
Blackman as Pussy Galore.
By Mark Orton.