The mind is a fascinating thing; it can bend and break or evolve and grow to suit its new surroundings. It’s constantly under pressure from the unknown and as a result can lead to unpredictability. It’s the subject of many of my favorite films from Memento to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and, as such, I had to check out this independent release from director Bernd Porr.
Anna Unbound follows Vasso Georgiadou as the titular Anna, a mysterious woman who embarks upon a new life with her partner in Scotland after escaping her dark past in Athens, Greece. The film is an exploration of how her adopted home of Scotland affects the mind and the process in which she untangles the memories of her past. All whilst she attempts to find some semblance of solidarity in her life.
As I mentioned earlier, the mind is a key theme to this piece, with some scenes blurring the lines between dream and reality as the viewer becomes involved in solving what the actual cause of her trauma is…and if there actually is one. Dream sequences can be heavy handed, but the use of lighting, effects, and camera angles in Anna Unbound deliver the point without appearing too cliché. It’s refreshing.
There is a degree of subtlety to the absurdity and as such conveys the ambiguous tone in a believable manner that aids in the universe that is being built. I’m being purposefully vague with my summary as you’ll probably know that with any good thriller, part of the enjoyment is being thrown into the unknown and left to figure out events; much like Anna does throughout the narrative.
At times the story can be clunky, with some plot holes and unnecessary focus on supporting characters yet that can be forgiven as this is the director’s debut and as debuts go, it’s a terrific attempt at a character study. The level of complexity captured in the hour and a half run time of Anna Unbound is remarkable and the performance of Georgiadou is a selling point alone. She captures the innocence of a victim with a sheer Machiavellian edge. She easily stands out and I’m on board to see whatever role she takes in the future.
Anna Unbound is a great directorial debut that explores a fractured psyche and a woman’s search for normality in a dark world. At times the writing can be a little contrived and supporting characters are fairly one-dimensional but the lead performance is magnetic and binds this tale together to make a very watchable experience.