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Film / Anna

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Anna is a 2019 action spy thriller film directed by Luc Besson.

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.

This film has the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: The eponymous character herself.
  • 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.
    • 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.
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Betty and Veronica: Anna has two love interests: Alex of the KGB and Leonard of the CIA.
  • Big Bad: Vassiliev.
  • Bi the Way: Anna's primary love interests are men, but she also has a girlfriend and says the sex is great. She doesn't show any indication of actually caring about Maud, though.
  • Black Comedy: The movie skews in this direction, especially when reflecting it's 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.
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  • Blackmail: How Anna makes sure her personnel file is deleted. She recorded Olga ordering her to kill Vassiliev.
  • Chess Motifs: Anna kills Vassiliev immediately after checkmating him at chess.
  • Cold War: Provides the setting for this Spy Fiction movie.
  • 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 that was put in place to assassinate him - and then sending their severed heads to Leonard at CIA headquarters, in individual packages.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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. The entry for You Would Make a Great Model is one such example.
  • 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: Maud is completely unaware of Anna's secret life as an assassin.
  • 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.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Although Vassiliv 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.
  • 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.
  • Plot Twist: Can't be a spy plot without this.
  • 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 Vassiliv, 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 on 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.
  • Weapon of Choice: Anna seems to have a thing for the Beretta 92 fitted with a suppressor, provided she can choose her equipment herself. Otherwise she makes do with what's at hand.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Poor Maude simply disappears from the story after the CIA's home invasion leaves her a nervous wreck.
  • Woman in White: Used repeatedly by Anna, especially in the restaurant fight where he ends up covered in blood.
  • You Would Make a Great Model: Said almost verbatim by the modeling agency talent scout when he encounters Anna in the marketplace. Subverted in that Alex's and Olga's team systematically steered him towards Anna in the first place.


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