Arty, dark tale needs attention

Last updated 12:18 06/12/2012
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SAD, BUT ARTY: Charlotte Rampling and Gabriel Byrne star in I, Anna.

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REVIEW: I, Anna
R16, 1hr 45min
Reviewed by Peter Lampp.

It was obviously not a problem for I, Anna director Barnaby Southcombe to direct the cameras' focus on his mother's legs for a good part of this murder-cum-romance thriller.

In real life, the mother is 66-year-old classic dresser Charlotte Rampling as mature single divorcee Anna Welles who is in dire need of male company.

There is one scene where she is doubting herself in the powder room and an even older woman, it might have been 87-year-old former starlet Honor Blackman, tells her: "So get your skinny legs out there and flaunt them".

There is seldom long to dwell on her pins because Southcombe employs a quickfire cinematography technique in which the scene changes are rapid, with the picture going out of focus, and the movie moves on unabated.

It is all rather arty, so you must concentrate.

And it is rather dark, based on a German novel set in New York but with the movie set in England.

Enter Detective Chief Inspector Bernie Reid, played by 62-year-old Irish actor Gabriel Byrne with the obligatory tie akimbo and stubble. His semi-brogue is a contrast to Rampling's posh English and he didn't leg it when he spotted Anna's limbs - far from it.

Anyway, there's been a murder where a guy has been bashed to death, Anna has had issues in her recent past and Reid should know better than to fall for a leggy woman who might be a suspect.

There are obviously lonesome singles of a good age everywhere waiting for the phone to ring while they lie at home thinking of England. But it had me wondering how these speed-daters know what history lurks behind wanton eyes.

So we have a dark, sad story which seems intent on leading us on in a dance that is not too complicated. The acting is fine; Rampling, after all, has been in 90 movies since 1965 - but this one could almost be a television drama.

Most misleading was the classification: "Contains violence, sexual violence, offensive language and content that may disturb." The censor must have been new to mother earth - the content is eminently tolerable, virtually no romping with Rampling.

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- Manawatu Standard

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