What is Anna about? Netflix movie explained

Jasmine Valentine
A still from the 2019 movie Anna

Anna, a KGB spy thriller starring Cillian Murphy, is available to stream on Netflix now — here’s what you should know.

Our favorite streaming platforms aren’t just competing for our attention with dazzling new original content — they’re also fighting over the best back catalog money can buy.

Netflix updates its library every month, with just as many titles added while others leave, with the 2019 spy movie Anna being amongst the latest crop.

But what is the cryptically titled movie even about? Here’s everything you need to know about the plot and cast of Anna, as well as whether or not it’s worth watching.

What is Anna about?

Anna is about a Russian woman who works for the KGB but is looking for a way out of the game.

The movie’s full synopsis reads: “Anna Poliatova is a Russian beauty who works for the KGB while constantly looking for a way out. She soon seizes an opportunity when the CIA asks her to become a double agent.

“Beneath her striking beauty lies a hidden secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill and lead to her becoming one of the most feared assassins on the planet.”

Anna eventually moves to Paris to try and evade both the CIA and local police, completing a series of missions along the way.

Unlike similarly titled Netflix projects — think Inventing Anna — this one isn’t based on a true story.

Who’s in the Anna cast?

Anna stars Sasha Luss in the titular role, alongside Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, Helen Mirren, and Alexander Petrov.

The full cast list reads as follows:

  • Sasha Luss as Anna Poliatova
  • Helen Mirren as Olga
  • Luke Evans as Aleksander “Alex” Tchenkov
  • Cillian Murphy as Leonard Miller
  • Lera Abova as Maude
  • Alexander Petrov as Piotr
  • Nikita Pavlenko as Vlad
  • Anna Krippa as Nika
  • Aleksey Maslodudov as Jimmy
  • Eric Godon as Vassiliev
  • Ivan Franěk as Mossan
  • Jean-Baptiste Puech as Samy
  • Nastya Sten as Fake Anna
  • Andrew Howard as Oleg Filenkov

At the time the movie was released, the Los Angeles Times reported that Anna was “stuck in the #MeToo limbo” after rape allegations were made against writer and director Luc Besson. The case against him was dropped in 2019 due to lack of evidence, with a second investigation dismissed in 2021.

Anna also marked Sasha Luss’ debut role, having previously worked as a model.

Is Anna worth watching?

Anna has a 33% Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes but boasts an audience score of 81%.

Adam Graham at Detroit News wrote: “[Besson is] riffing on spy movies and their inherent double crosses and triple crosses, stopping just short of parody but letting the audience in on the trick. And thanks to Besson and a willing cast, the trick’s a pretty good one.”

However, Benjamin Lee at The Guardian disagreed: “What ultimately sinks the film is its overwhelming blandness, from the lack of creativity employed in Anna’s many kills to Besson’s inability to choreograph a pulse-racing action scene…”

David Ehrlich at IndieWire weighed in: “The gunplay in Anna grows repetitive before long, and the heroine’s invincibility feels like a cheap substitute for the power that Besson wields over her.”

Is Anna available on Netflix worldwide?

No, Anna isn’t available on Netflix worldwide, with territories such as the UK needing to use a VPN in order to watch through the platform.

ExpressVPN is the ideal choice, allowing you to access streaming platforms and services otherwise geo-blocked from your location with the following steps:

  • Sign up for ExpressVPN
  • Connect to any US location and either log in to Netflix or create an account
  • Watch and enjoy

If Anna isn’t enough on its own, find even more amazing movies, TV shows, true crime documentaries, and K-dramas to stream this month.

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About The Author

Jasmine Valentine is a TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's the go-to source for all things Young Sheldon, as well as many Netflix originals. Jasmine has also written for the likes of Total Film, The Daily Beast, and Radio Times.