Anna: A New Start For Luc Besson

Anna is a spy film directed by Luc Besson. The plot sees Anna (Sasha Luss), forced into a world of calculating intelligence officers and kill or be killed mentalities.

The first half an hour of this film is brutal to sit through, honestly I need to say that now because if I didn’t and you went straight into it then you might turn it off before it gets good. Yes, that is right despite an incredibly dull opening half hour the other hour and a half is surprisingly strong.

The plot jumps around a lot in time which is normally a problem for me, but here I enjoyed it. Besson uses the time jumping narrative to show all of the backstabbing and double dealing, which builds a nice sense of tension and suspense throughout the film that expertly comes to a head in the film’s final act.

Luss is a memorable lead, she nails the physicality maybe even better than Theron in Atomic Blond and is a very believable assassin. However, where her character suffers is in the personality department, in that she doesn’t really have one she is quite bland and charmless. In terms of charm her performance is blown out of the water without question by Cillian Murphy as the charismatic head of the CIA. Murphy as well as Helen Mirren make this film what is it.

Overall, if you can get past a diabolical first half an hour you will find a very enjoyable spy thriller that has no reason to be as good as it is.

Pros.

Sasha Luss

Cillian Murphy

The time jumps

The action

Cons.

The awful first half hour

3.5/5

Reviewed by Luke  

Johnny English: Bean Meets Bond

‘Johnny English’ is a spy action comedy film, the plot revolves around a bumbling super-spy Johnny English, (Rowan Atkinson), as he tries to stop the nefarious plot of a french mastermind Pascal Sauvage, (John Malkovich), and retrieve the crown jewels.

The reason why ‘Johnny English’ works so well is because it is such an excellent spoof of the British national treasure, James Bond, this parody works in every respect. It makes a joke out of everything the gadgets, the girls and of course the spy himself all of which bring genuinely good laughs. This film is one of the funniest I’ve seen in a long time and, it has a lot of moments that don’t simply make you smile but, rather they make you laugh out loud.

A lot of this is due to Rowan Atkinson his comedic delivery is always on point and, he plays someone playing at being a suave charismatic spy well. There is also a vulnerability to English that Atkinson captures extremely well we know that he knows he’s a rubbish spy deep down, but that he is trying his best and, that is what makes him so loveable. He is the underdog hero that we all want to see succeed.

The actual events of the film are all entertaining to watch they expertly capture the wacky over the top plots that some of the later Bond films, before Craig, suffered from; this is shown as Suave’s evil plan is to turn all of Britain into a huge prison. There is also some decent tension built across the film as there are moments where it looks like it’s all over for English and, we can’t help but feel sad at these times.

The one element of the parody that ‘Johnny English’ doesn’t do so well is its spoof of the Bond girl trope. Natalie Imbruglia plays Lorna Campbell an Interpol agent; who gets roped into Johnny’s manic craziness. Until writing this review I genuinely didn’t know what the character was called. Rather than be given something to do, or maybe even reject English, which would be a great spoof of how Bond always gets the girl, Campbell instead follows the same characterisation of a lot of the past Bond girls given the paper-thin development of also being a spy while actually just being a romantic interest destined to end up on Johnny’s arm.

Despite this dated depiction, this film is still an incredibly entertaining spy spoof film and, a must-watch. Perfect for over the holidays viewing.

4.5/5

Reviewed by Luke