I, Anna is a modern-day British noir thriller. DCI Bernie Reid (Gabriel Byrne) is investigating a brutal murder while struggling through a divorce and starting to date the mysterious Anna (Charlotte Rampling) who has plenty of secrets to unveil before the film’s end. The film’s plot is too delicate to discuss in much more detail and I’m afraid that pulling on any one thread will reveal too much.
I, Anna is a great showcase of older UK acting talent. Byrne plays a troubled man struggling between loyalties and Rampling shows a tender frailty with the hint of something dangerous bubbling below the surface. Both characters garnered a lot of sympathy as we were allowed an insight into both their lives beyond the case at hand. Rampling’s trip to a singles night was heartbreaking; a bewildered divorced woman looking for companionship being given advice on oral sex in the toilets makes for a slightly tragic tableau. In a similar position Byrne’s character was forced to stoop to looking up a woman’s car registration in the police database in order to force a chance encounter. These are two desperately lonely characters caught up in an impossible situation.
I’m not sure if it is just me or a sign of the state of TV and film but it was almost odd to see a crime drama with middle-aged characters on the big screen. It is more common to see this style of drama on BBC1 or ITV with the cinema reserved only for crime dramas involving the younger, more violent end of the criminal scale.
I, Anna was gripping, surprising, and superbly acted. While a cinematic release is scheduled for September 7th in the UK I can’t help but feel that the film is better suited to a TV viewing.