Anna & Anna 安娜與安娜 (2007) – Hong Kong
Tagline: A well meaning failure attempt at exploring the “what ifs” of life…
Review by Neo: As with the history of this site, Neo usually proclaim his obvious bias at the beginning of a review and his everlasting love for Karena Lam is an obvious one. Ever since Karena stunning natural and critically acclaimed display in July Rhasody and it’s been now 7 years on since that first sighting. So why did Neo bother catching such a little known movie, namely Anna and Anna, it is already pointless to mention. While the flick is extremely well meaning, emphasising on the choices that we make in our lives and the part and parcel of the regrets that comes along with it, Anna and Anna fails in terms of entertainment, sustaining interest and ultimate muddling the audience to the point of being too smart for its own good. Not an outright bad movie by all means, but a failure in terms of story telling and the result is losing the audience and everyone else that is not involved in the filmmaking. As usual Karena Lam steals the show, but even at times you can picture Lam as more lost than ever and more confuse than you can imagine.
Director Aubrey Lam (who previously directed the uneven yet pleasing 12 Nights and the underrated Hidden Track) tries to define an example to allow the audience to reflect upon their own regrets and how choices are made by us and not anyone else at the very end. Imagine what would happen if you choose to stay in a particular country to be with someone, rather than work in another country, or what if, you took advantage of what have became a missed opportunities. Aubrey smartly explores these notions of relevant themes, but as mentioned before, the flick is extremely well meaning, but it just never connects to the audience, the way it could have been.
There is no doubt that the thought of seeing two Karena Lam(s) excites the current reviewer, but unfortunately two of the same person does not make a good movie. While Lam is always an attractive and talented actress, the script loses not just the audience, but also Lam herself. When it comes to crying sequences, Lam is probably the only one that can match Cecilia Cheung is this arena. Still, Karena is always likable and her smile with dimples is almost irresistible to look at, but a smile or two does not make a film and even Karena herself cannot save this movie from the distance feeling. It must be commended however, that Karena manages to play two opposite characters extremely well and there are moments where it seems to be two different people. The supporting cast of (Lu Yi, Tender Huang Teng-Hao) tries hard to their own respective abilities, but once again, the prodding of the script ruins it all. Perhaps, Aubrey is a better writer than director, putting things to words is one thing, but creating a vision and a dream is totally another. This is probably true considering that Aubrey actually wrote 2005’s Peter Chan extravagant love story – Perhaps Love.
All in all, Anna and Anna is very much a flick that wants the audience to relate to the proceedings, but ends up distancing and pushing the audience away rather than accepting them with open arms. It is a shame that an actress of the calibre of Karena Lam isn’t given a better character role and it is even more so disappointing that the film never tries to be commercial and yet it drags and feels longer than its 90 minutes running time. Yes, it is good to know that our choices affect our future and regrets are just something that humanity has to learn to deal with. After all, we can’t have everything in life and as Neo always proclaim, it is humanity to desire for things that we cannot have and yet never be truly content to the present surroundings. At the end of the day, the more meaning this flick attempt to get out only result in further disappointment and ultimately what appears on-screen just doesn’t equals the effort and the initial intention. Then again, when all cases fails, there is still Neo’s favourite Karena Lam to maintain the proceedings… (Neo 2008)
I rate it 5/10