About forty minutes into this movie 'Anna',
or 'Mindscape'… don't know which one is the actual title the
production company is rolling with, but without actually
paying attention to the credits I figured this was a film by a
Spanish director. How did I come to this amazing
conclusion? A couple of things tipped me off, these
things beings that the film had a hint of the supernatural
while still weighted down in reality, and the fact that it
didn't seem too interested in making any sense.
Apparently Spanish film directors get a free pass when it
comes to sense making in their movies, which is why if I were
a film director, I'd want to be a Spanish film director.
Eventually, this movie does wrap itself up quite neatly… maybe
too neatly… and at least it makes sense in the world it exists
in, but I'm thinking something is missing.
In this reality we have these people called mind leaders or
something who can get in your brain and reconstruct your
memories for whatever reason. Be it to find a killer,
some lost cash, a repressed memory… whatever. One of the
best at this is John Washington (Mark Strong) who has just
suffered a tragedy which has affected his ability to do his
job, and actually caused him to suffer a slight stroke forcing
him to take a break from this crazy gig he does. Now,
however, John is ready to get back in the game and his boss
Sebastian (Bryan Cox) has an easy gig for him. All he
has to do is get this teenage girl who is hunger striking to
start eating. How hard could that be?
So John meets young Anna (Taissa Farmiga), and the kid who is
locked in her room by her wacky parents, is definitely
odd. For starters she looks creepy, draws weird pictures
all the time, and speaks in riddles and platitudes. John
introduces himself, makes some small talk, takes a liking to
the kid and then enters her brain to unearth some secrets and
hopefully get this skinny girl to eat a biscuit or something.
Thing is, John sees some rather disturbing
things in Anna's memories. Just so you know, Anna is
locked in her room because she seems to be a danger to herself
and everyone around her, though Anna swears that this is not
the case. But for every disturbing memory that John
sees, Anna has very easy and simplistic explanation for
it. Be it the attempted murder, the statutory rape,
another attempted murder… there's a logical explanation for
everything according to Anna. And John believes her,
because he can see it plain as day in her memories. Some
weird things are happening personally to John, say like him
seeing things or experiencing things that aren't really
happening, but these things shouldn't have anything to do with
that skinny girl that won't eat, does it?
Eventually John gets the truth. Or so he thinks.
Until it's kind of not the truth. What exactly has John
been experiencing? The truth will blow John away.
I doubt it will blow you away since you will probably know
already what John should've known a long time ago.
Let's work our way through 'Anna' and the various problems it
presents to us, problems which ultimately there are no real
solutions. On the positive side, Dorado has crafted a
film that looks great, and stars Mark Strong who brings
whatever production he chooses to participate in up at least
two levels. There will come a day when Taissa Farmiga
will be so much more than that kid on American Horror Story
with the super-hot older sister… today is not that day… but
she was suitably creepy and manipulative in this movie.
The setup for the mystery was also handled very well, but as
time went on and events developed, we were eventually left us
with only one logical conclusion for this mystery and that's
where we have the issue.
SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW… But as the saying goes, once is anomaly,
twice is a coincidence, thrice is a trend. Therefore,
after repeatedly seeing clear signs and being told by numerous
people that Anna is a bad apple, it seems at some point John
should've came to that very simple and logical conclusion all
on his own. You might think that John didn't suspect
Anna could actually be manipulating his own thoughts… but John
himself accuses Anna of doing just that. On one of the
accusations, Anna had a simple explanation, then another time
she just shrugged it off. John bought all of that.
If someone told you Anna threw you over a rail down three
flights of steps onto a grand piano, I'd be inclined to
believe that person, especially at this point, despite Anna's
great rebuttal as to why this person is lying. John is
Then at the end, what are we supposed to be thinking about
Anna? Anna has killed three people, attempted to kill
two more, has some dude doing hard time for a statutory rape
which didn't happen, and has our hero tossed in the clink for
murdering her, attempting double homicide and being a
pedophile. I'm not quite sure what the filmmakers want
me to think about this character, since she's set up in the
end for being an okay egg by letting the cops know John didn't
actually murder her, but Anna could very well be the worst
person on the planet Earth. They need to find this
terrible person and lock her away forever.
'Anna' certainly looked good and was well acted, but the
script wasn't near clever enough to be the twisty mystery it
wanted to be and our title character was horrible.
Absolutely horrible. Kind of hard to get behind somebody