Anna Review The Buff and The Blazer
Is Anna the most original film in the last 5 years? Likely not, but Anna has its strengths, one being its lead actor Sasha Luss. The Russian supermodel turned leading femme-assassin gives a well-rounded and all-encompassing performance in the film. Sasha’s total investment is apparent from her very first scene. She sells her character’s motivation and longing for freedom. On top of the dramatic moments, Luss also brings great physicality to the role and her extensive off-screen training shows. Rather than compare the character of Anna to others, it is better to view her and the film as expanding upon a growing genre that puts women front and center.
Anyone who has seen Sasha Luss is no stranger to her beauty. She is an internationally renowned fashion model and one of Russia’s best. It’s no wonder why she pulls off the cover of a model soo naturally in the film. Even more impressive are her acting chops. Before Anna, Sasha only appeared in one widely released film (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 2017) in a minor supporting role. Around the same time, she was cast to star in Anna. The fact she was cast as an unknown in a major film is not impressive on its own. Many actors have landed roles in major motion pictures that we’ve had no prior exposure to. But to land the title role of a major film without having any prior acting experience is something few have accomplished.
Sasha’s dramatic performances in Anna are always believable. Whether the dramatic moments are intentional or not, she brings a level of authenticity and feeling that seems effortless. To be clear, Anna is not the kind of film to score high on the best picture meter, but as an action film, the performances are top-notch, led by Sasha Luss.
Just when you thought her acting chops were enough to impress, she also performed many of her own stunts. This brings us to the meat and potatoes of the film. While we avoided a one-to-one comparison of acting skills, the action in Anna is worth comparing. Films such as Atomic Blonde or John Wick feature some of the most high-octane stunts and action sequences of the last 10 years. Anna is a newcomer in that regard but deserves mention. One scene in the film is worth a breakdown.
For her first real test as a KGB agent, Anna must take out a high-profile target at a restaurant and acquire his mobile phone. Anna, unknowingly armed with an unloaded pistol and unaware the whole establishment is crawling with henchmen, must improvise. The scene quickly transforms into a crowded brawl as she gives and takes beatings. The sequence is filled with quick gunshots, gritty hand-to-hand combat, and beat-downs with random items like sharp pieces of dinnerware. The scene is executed flawlessly, and Sasha Luss is front and center. The preparation for this extensive scene took 4 months of training and choreography. To our knowledge, Sasha did all her own stunt work for the sequence.
In case you can’t already tell, we are unashamedly impressed by Sasha Luss’s performance in Anna. Some films warrant a watch simply for the great performances on-screen. While Anna certainly has those, it’s a fun ride with great action and an engaging story.
Anna is available on disc and digital now!
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