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I, Anna


Stars: Charlotte Rampling, Gabriel Byrne, Eddie Marsan, Ralph Brown, Hayley Atwell, Jodhi May, Honor Blackman, Max Deacon, Caroline Catz

Director: Barnaby Southcombe

This 'thriller' is what you would call a slow burner. With the accent on the slow. Lots of lingering close-ups somehow contrive to stretch the piece to the 90-minute mark, but you do need to stay awake - to work out exactly what's going on in the last 10.

There's a murder at a Barbican tower block and Chief Inspector Byrne, still reeling from the prospect of a divorce, momentarily encounters Anna (Rampling), who has left her umbrella in the lift there. When he leaves, he notices that Anna has left the brolly again - this time in a phone box.

We then see Anna, posing as Allegra, and encouraged by her daughter (Atwell) to 'get out a bit' (presumably after her own divorce at a singles night, where she runs into George (Brown), an East End lothario. It transpires that he is Byrne's murder victim. Is Anna involved?

Flashbacks gradually reveal the truth, but the director, quite apart from taking too much time, hardly plays fair with his audience, leading us to believe that everything we're seeing is happening in the present.

Rampling is suitably enigmatic and anguished by turn, but Byrne's tentative performance doesn't help matters and supporting players hardly have a chance to register.

Incidentally, the date on the crime scene (February 2011) suggests the film was made a little earlier than its copyright date would suggest.

David Quinlan

UK 2012. UK Distributor: Artificial Eye. Colour by deluxe.
90 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 02 Dec 2012