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  Publicity Stills of "Anna And Anna"
(Courtesy from GV)

In Mandarin with English and Chinese subtitles
Director: Aubrey Lam
Cast: Karena Lam, Lu Yi, Tender Huang
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: PG

Official Website: www.annaandannamovie.com


Opening Day: 8 November 2007


Anna (Karena Lam) seems to have a great life for both love and career in Singapore, until she has to move to Shanghai. There she meets her ex-boyfriend, Ouyang (Lu Yi) and his wife, Si Yu (Karena Lam) who looks exactly like her. Love for her ex-beau rekindles and she decides to switch identities with her doppelganger for a week. Si Yu then flies to Singapore where she lives with Billy (Tender Huang), Anna’s current boyfriend. Anna gradually realizes that Ouyang is no longer the man she used to love and desperately wants her old life in Singapore back, but her alternate self has plans of her own too…

Movie Review:

This is perhaps one of the most forgettable movies produced this year. The premise of a doppelganger film always excites – the expectation of one’s own dark side and a highly charged resolution could have been explored. But Anna and Anna does everything (and I mean everything) so poorly, the audience simply laughs and asks, “What was the whole point?”

The movie basically revolves around Anna (Karena Lam), who seemingly has everything but is not happy. Taking an opportunity to work in Shanghai, she leaves all behind, including a handsome new age sensitive boyfriend Billy (newcomer Tender Huang). Things in Shanghai take a turn for the worse however when she meets her ‘doppelganger’ Si Yu (also Karena Lam) and her old beau Ouyang (Lu Yi).

The exposition was too long drawn. Coupled with a very poor script, the acting and dramatic pauses were nothing short of deplorable. Why were there two-second pauses after EVERY line? It did not serve any dramatic purpose and the sophomoric acting did nothing to help. Things got better the moment Anna arrived in Shanghai. There were attempts at artistic imagery (the visuals of paired objects in the gallery and in Shanghai proper) and some well-intentional artsy shots and culture references. But these were too obvious and never subtle. It seemed like it was being ‘artsy’ just for the sake of being ‘artsy’. It was comic, even painful to watch.

It seemed innocent enough, when Anna pines for her ex-boyfriend/depressed pianist and upon meeting her double, decides to switch roles for three days. Here I saw a potential route for the movie to take off from the entire mundane and boring enterprise. The sudden chilling and horror-type music seemed to promise a grand and exciting psychological drama – we may even get blood and some action as the two doppelgangers slug it out mentally and physically. I was even ready to forgive the bad attempt at pseudo-science (the Internet solves all mysteries, really) to explain the ‘phenomenon’.

But no. We were never in for such a treat. The movie took a turn, seemingly building up towards a horror/slash flick but ultimately dumping the audiences back to the ghastly drama (or lack thereof) at its climax. The ending, which I was very tempted to disclose here, was a total cop out in all respects. And it made entirely no sense whatsoever. I tried. I really tried to make sense of it, but to no avail. Just what were they thinking? There was never any focus in the film. Perhaps both Anna’s and Ouyang’s characters came close. But there were way too many gaps in their development they came across just short of convincing. The other characters were nothing more then glorified extras. It is noted that these characters had seemingly much potential, but these were just brushed off and never explained.

This film is most unfortunate for all involved; especially for rising star Karena Lam. Let us hope this movie does not destroy her career. This film will give critics and audiences a lot to talk about – but it would only revolve around how 95 minutes could have been better well spent.

Movie Rating:

(A most unfortunate waste of time)

Review by Darren Sim

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