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Film / Anna

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Anna is a 2019 action spy thriller film directed, written and produced by Luc Besson.

Anna, a young Russian beauty who has been the victim of domestic abuse, will do anything to escape the life she is trapped in. In a twist of fate, she reluctantly accepts an offer by KGB officer Alex. After a year of training, she is to work as a KGB assassin for five years under a handler named Olga, after which she will be free to continue her life as she pleases. KGB head Vassiliev is not willing to honor this agreement, implying that the only way out of the KGB is death.

It stars Russian model-turned actress Sasha Luss as the title character, alongside Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, and Cillian Murphy.

No relation to the 2012 horror game. And not to be confused with Hanna.

This film has the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: The eponymous character herself. She's a highly trained assassin for the KGB, and puts down numerous far larger men with just martial arts, never mind guns.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Was Anna ever actually attracted to Maude, or just using her as a tool?
  • Anachronic Order: The main plot is generally linear, but the narrative repeatedly makes 5-10 minute detours to further explain the backstory or clarify what actually happened.
  • Anachronism Stew: The film is set in the early 90's, but the technology depicted seems to skew more towards the late 90's or above.
    • A lengthy scene involves a robbery at an ATM in the latter half of the 1980s, but the first ATM (bankomat) was not installed in Russia until 1994.
    • The USB interface was first introduced in 1996, well after the Cold War ended.
    • While laptops did exist then, Vassiliev's is far too modern-looking.
    • Anna is sent in to assassinate a target and retrieve his phone. Such a trope would not really be necessary in a time when all phones did was make phone calls, as call logs by themselves are easy to retrieve.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played with. Anna ends up bruised, cut, shot, and generally battered quite often, but her injuries rarely persist into the next scene. Most of the time, she looks flawless regardless of what she just went through a bit earlier.
  • Best Served Cold: Leonard and the CIA have spent five years looking for a way to get to Vassiliev and get their revenge for what he did to their agents.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: When first confronted by Alex, Anna slits her own wrist rather than join the KGB. He manages to convince her to live and work for the KGB.
  • Bisexual Love Triangle: Anna has a girlfriend, Maude, but at the same time she gets involved with both Alex and Leonard. This is complicated by the fact it's not entirely clear if she cares for Maude, or is just using her as part of her cover. In any case, she doesn't end up with any of them.
  • Black Comedy: The movie skews in this direction, especially when reflecting its exploitation roots. One particular moment has Anna being captured and turned into a double agent for the CIA by Leonard, who are protecting her original target. Unfortunately, she was supposed to get a finger from the target as proof of death. When she returns to the room saying she has to maintain her cover by getting the finger, the other officers in the room force the target down while she removes a finger. Dark, but hilarious at the same time.
  • Blackmail: How Anna makes sure her personnel file is deleted. She recorded Olga ordering her to kill Vassiliev.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Maude sports a buzz cut, though her looks and interests are otherwise feminine. However, she is a lesbian.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Anna uses the corpse of a large man she just killed as a human shield while in a gunfight.
  • Chess Motifs: Anna kills Vassiliev immediately after checkmating him at chess.
  • Death by Origin Story: Anna's parents were killed in a head-on collision with a truck.
  • Decapitation Strike: A rare literal, though inverted example. The film begins with Vassiliev arresting Leonard's entire spy network in Moscow — and then sending their severed heads to Leonard at CIA headquarters, in individual packages. It is strongly implied that this specifically is what pisses the CIA off enough to want to kill Vassiliev.
  • Double Agent: Anna is this in the CIA.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Anna ends up this, working for the KGB while reporting to the CIA, while the KGB knows she's been turned while finagling a way out.
  • End of an Era: The movie seems to take place primarily in 1990 or 1991, after the breakup of the Warsaw Pact but before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In a year or two, the KGB will be dissolved and its responsibilities taken over by the new FSB.
  • Exploitation Film: The movie is a bit too mainstream to be in this genre, but definitely comes close at times. Anna's restaurant fight where she ends up covered in blood comes to mind.
  • Faking the Dead: How Anna finally gets the peace she deserves.
  • Fanservice Extra: As part of her modeling work, a lot of other attractive models are seen with Anna.
  • Femme Fatale Spy: Anna uses her sexiness to get to her targets before killing them.
  • Fingore: Olga forces Anna to get the index of her not-so dead target.
  • Foil: Alex and Leonard are this to each other, as Anna's handlers and love interests.
  • Friendly Enemy: Leonard claims that over the years, the CIA and the KGB have reached an unspoken understanding on how they conducted the spy game against each other. This all went away when Vassiliev had the captured CIA agents executed and mailed their heads to the CIA headquarters. The CIA is out for blood and has no intention of being nice to captured KGB agents.
  • Gambit Pileup: Anna spends her time getting coerced by both of the KGB and CIA into outsmarting the other. Eventually, Olga is the one that comes out on top (although Anna does earn her happy ending and Leonard doesn't exactly lose).
  • Genre Savvy: Anna is immediately aware that, having seen Alex's face, she won't be allowed to leave alive and must either join the KGB or die. She slits her own wrist instead, though he talks her down.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Though a highly skilled assassin, Anna hates it and most of the film involves her effort to quit.
  • Hollywood Blanks: Leonard has sabotaged Anna's gun with blanks prior to her shooting of two targets, allowing the CIA to take her in and coerce her into working for them.
  • Honey Trap: Initially, this is the only use Olga sees for Anna, and although she does come around eventually, Anna really does use her looks frequently to get close to her targets.
  • How We Got Here: Much of the film consists of this trope: the story proceeds to a certain Plot Twist, then rewinds to reveal the steps leading up to said twist.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Anna falls for the "gun you've been provided isn't loaded" trick not once, but twice. You'd think that after the first time she'd have learned to check her equipment before going in.
    • The second time, the gun is loaded… with blanks.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Even at close range, the KGB officers can never manage to shoot Anna.
  • Improbable Weapon User: During her first mission for the KGB, Anna kills scores of mooks with things like the shards of a broken dinner plate and a torn-off bar railing, and her target suffers death by fork.
  • Incredibly Obvious Tail: Walking to the park meet, Leonard notices that some of the CIA agents filling the park are a bit too obvious and orders them out.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Anna rarely shoots someone more than once before they drop dead. She's also never seen making sure that her target is actually dead, so she seems to treat this trope as a given In-Universe.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: In a shockingly stupid lapse of judgement for a trained assassin, Anna fails to notice that the gun Olga gave her for her very first mission isn't actually loaded. Cue six minutes of brutal CQC against a couple dozen mooks in a fancy restaurant.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Maude is completely unaware of Anna's secret life as an assassin.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Anna has long hair with a more feminine look, while her girlfriend Maude always has short hair and looks pretty tomboyish. In terms of other things though, it's ironically reversed, as Anna shows no interest toward traditionally female things (she models, but only as cover for her being a KGB assassin), while Maude enjoys it along with partying and decorating.
  • Mexican Standoff: A rather hilarious version involving 30 people between the CIA and KGB after Anna fakes her death. A Blast Out is averted, however, and both sides walk away without violence as they just wanted to extract their agent.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: After they have sex in the hotel, Anna holds up the sheet around her chest while talking with Leonard, then keeps it there when getting up.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Anna is a gorgeous model along with a KGB assassin, and often seen not only modeling but having sex, scantily clad plus topless once briefly.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Although Vassiliev does threaten Anna with a gun at one point, he's not a skilled fighter and Anna takes him down with a shot to the head while playing chess with him in the climax.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Luke Evans only barely puts on a Russian accent as KGB officer Alex.
  • Once More, with Clarity: The film continually flashes back to flesh out a scene to explain a plot twist.
  • One-Woman Army: Over the course of her missions Anna regularly slaughters dozens of mooks singlehandedly. Special mention goes to the restaurant hit, where she kills at least two dozen men.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: The KGB apparently has a specific finger-severing method that serves as proof the agent actually took the finger.
  • Overt Rendezvous: After killing Vassiliv, Anna reappears and arranges a meet in a park with the CIA and KGB.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Anna is a slender, petite young woman yet skilled enough at martial arts to kill multiple much larger men in hand-to-hand combat. She's in trouble when they get her pinned against something or under them, but always manages to break free somehow.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Although there is a spray of blood every time Anna headshots someone, the corpses never show any of the gruesome wounds they should have after this treatment. Vassiliev only has a neat round spot on his forehead, with a tiny trickle of blood oozing out.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: According to Vassiliev, you're in the KGB for life, no retirement, no resignation.
  • Shout-Out: The entire film is one to Besson's Nikita, particularly Anna's first assignment: an assassination inside a crowded restaurant. Subverted in that the hit immediately goes wrong (Olga had intentionally given Anna an unloaded pistol, as a lesson in preparedness), and she must rely on improvised weapons (plates, cutlery, etc.) and martial arts to complete the hit and not get killed in the process.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Mocked when Olga notes that Anna's talent for chess is meaningless in the espionage business.
  • The Starscream: Olga handily exploits the ongoing Gambit Pileup to have Anna eliminate Vassiliev and take over as director of the KGB.
  • Steel Eardrums: During her first mission, Anna fires a handgun barely an inch from her ear to get rid of a guy who grabbed her from behind. In Real Life this would've deafened her at least in this ear, but it doesn't seem to faze her at all.
  • The Tell:
    • Leonard finally identifies Anna as the assassin he's been hunting due to the characteristic way she drapes her purse over one arm.
    • Olga notices the handcuff marks on Anna's wrists and realizes she was captured and turned.
  • Throw-Away Guns: Anna runs through at least a half-dozen weapons during the restaurant hit, as she keeps getting disarmed and grabbing a new weapon.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Ironically, the much more feminine-looking Anna is the tomboy to Maude's girly girl by virtue of being a highly skilled assassin with little apparent interest in traditionally female fields whereas Maude is clearly into modeling, interior decoration and fancy parties. Maude also has the more tomboyish look, with her buzz cut.
  • Use Your Head: During the restaurant fight, Anna headbutts one of the men as he tries to hit her with a bottle.
  • Vapor Wear: Anna is shown modeling a sheer top which shows her nipples through it once.
  • Wall Bang Her: Alex and Anna have sex in a tight, enclosed space with her propped up on a wall when they reunite.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Poor Maude simply disappears from the story after the CIA's home invasion leaves her a nervous wreck.