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Anna (2014)

Cover art:

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Anna (2014)Starring Mark Strong, Brian Cox, Taissa Farmiga

Directed by Jorge Dorado


Anna, previously known as Mindscape (a much more fitting title), is a nice throwback to old school suspensers like Altered States and Brainscan. Its conceit will also be familiar to fans of the popular television series “Hannibal” — in Anna, the main characters can put themselves inside minds to experience the memories, motivations, and… sometimes murders… of others.

The film features “American Horror Story: Coven” star Taissa Farmiga as Anna, Mark Strong of “Low Winter Sun” as Det. John Washington, and the legendary Brian Cox as Anna’s therapist. John has the unusual ability to enter peoples’ memories and it is he who takes on the case of a brilliant and artistic, but troubled and possibly dangerous, 16-year-old-girl, Anna, to determine whether she is a sociopath or just an innocent trauma victim. (…Guess what? That’s okay; although there’s no mystery here, there is indeed suspense.)

Anna, which has a similar vibe to 2009’s Orphan (starring Vera Farmiga), was produced by Ombra Films, a production company headed by Jaume Collet-Serra and Juan Solá – director Jorge Dorado follows the formula of fine Spanish filmmakers which imbues the film with the fingerprints of the likes of Guillermo Del Toro, Pedro Almodóvar and Álex de la Iglesia. So, as you can imagine – there’s lots of crossover appeal here.

On the downside, the script isn’t quite up to the par of the players and filmmakers. The story is too simple and predictable, and so it lacks the gravitas of the visuals and the performances. But for those who don’t mind style over substance (raises hand), Anna is well worth your time.

3 1/2 out of 5

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Staci Layne Wilson