Anna (2019): Why did Anna Kill Vassiliev? Did Olga Help Her?

‘Anna’ is a 2019 action thriller directed by Luc Besson that delves into the intricate world of secret agents and the perilous lives they lead. The film follows Anna, a youthful Russian girl who is offered a new life as a model in Paris, but she holds a risky secret: she is a KGB agent. The film has its fair share of unexpected twists and timeline-jumping sequences, which could raise a few questions about the action thriller, but it is the ending that truly takes the cake when it comes to taking the viewers by surprise. SPOILERS AHEAD

Vassiliev’s Death Helped Both the CIA and Olga

After completing nearly two years at the KGB, one in training and one through mission, Anna seeks to understand her position at the agency as she was promised her freedom after five years of duty. During this scene, where Olga and Alex are also present, the chief of the agency, Vassiliev, aggressively points a gun at her, revealing that she cannot, by any means, leave the KGB. Vassiliev himself is unaware of this underlying 5-year deal she was promised and explains to her that the only way of leaving the KGB is if she doesn’t survive. Anna, unsurprisingly, was sold a false promise.

It is revealed here that both Olga and Alex, who initially promised her the 5-year deal, didn’t believe that she would survive. Naturally, Anna feels betrayed by her country and the person she trusted the most: Alex. She somehow manages to pick herself up and is assigned a new mission: to kill a German diplomat named Wurtenberg. Although she is late to the mission, she successfully takes him down.

However, this scene is viewed from the perspective of Olga, who is monitoring her movements from the next room. From her point of view, no major altercation takes place when Anna retrieves the asset from the target. A distressed Anna then joins Olga in the next room, who offers her a week off. The film here flashes through 6 months of missions and undercover modeling for Anna until she is summoned to Moscow to meet Vassiliev.

During her meeting with Vassiliev, she shoots him point-blank with Alex present. To explain why this happened, the film transports us back six months into the past to reveal what really took place during the Wurtenberg mission. While going through with the mission, Anna tries to shoot Wurtenberg and his bodyguards but realizes that the gun that was hidden for her in the bathroom is a fake.

A team of armed guards storm into the room and take Anna into custody. Along with them walks agent Lenny Miller of the CIA, who has a proposition for the girl. He tells her to work for the CIA in exchange for protection and freedom. Anna, who is skeptical, eventually agrees after putting in her own negotiation points. Anna here begins working with the CIA as a double agent. Within the aforementioned six months, she is assigned her biggest mission yet by Agent Miller: to kill Vassiliev. He explains that after Vassiliev came to power, the respectful relations that the CIA had with the KGB completely diminished. Her objective is to eliminate Vassiliev within the premises of the KGB’s headquarters. This is where the film returns to the current timeline, just after Anna killed Vassiliev.

After weeks of not knowing what happened on the day of Vassiliev’s death, Anna unexpectedly shows up in New York. In the showdown between the CIA and KGB, she is seemingly killed by Olga, but what really happens is that she fakes her death with the help of Olga, who is the mastermind behind the entire plan. Olga knew that the CIA had approached Anna with a deal and presented a deal of her own to give Anna the freedom she desperately needed.

Hence, in the end, we learn that while the CIA wanted Vassiliev dead to regain a respectful relationship with the KGB, Olga allowed their plan to proceed so she could take up Vassiliev’s chair. With Vassiliev gone, relations between the CIA and KGB would rekindle with Olga taking over the agency’s activities, and Anna would finally get the freedom she needed since both the KGB and the CIA think that she’s dead.

Why Did Olga Want Vassiliev Dead?

Throughout the film, Olga is depicted as a hard boss to work under. She doesn’t necessarily care about her recruits, as she believes most of them won’t make it through the gruesome and dangerous missions they are sent on. Anna here is substantially different as she possesses all the qualities of a great agent, but her underlying demand is to be free. Olga, of course, cannot afford to let go of a high-value agent like Anna as she is too engrained in the workings and secrets of the KGB. The agency’s policy is to retain all agents irrespective of their demands, hence Anna is stuck working for the agency for a few years before the CIA approaches her through one of the twists in the film.

At the end of the film, we get to know that Olga had already known that the CIA approached Anna with a deal. She commands her subordinate to relay all the information the CIA has given her, and Anna does just that. The CIA had planned to eliminate Vassiliev in the hopes that the two agencies would reestablish a respectable relationship. Olga, on the other hand, wanted Vassiliev’s seat, and it perfectly worked out for her since the CIA wanted Vassiliev dead. She devises an ingenious plan that would effectively render Anna dead in the eyes of the KGB and the CIA.

In a climactic sequence, a showdown takes place between the CIA and the KGB as Anna meets Alex and Agent Miller one last time. Anna escapes, and Olga seemingly shoots her, but eventually, it is revealed that Anna is wearing a bulletproof vest. As she gets up she quickly puts a body double in her place, which was planted there by Olga. Hence, right at the end of the film, it is confirmed that Olga did indeed help Anna eventually because she knows Anna better than her own daughter, and gradually, throughout the film, Olga genuinely begins to care about Anna. Olga saw a bit of herself in Anna and as a reconciliation for the freedom she never got, Olga helps Anna escape scot-free.

In the following weeks, Olga is appointed as the chief of the KGB exactly as she had planned. However, just to make sure Olga was keeping her word, Anna placed a video in the official chief’s computer, the one to which Olga now has access. In the video, she tells Olga she has evidence of discussing the entire plan. She demands that in exchange for deleting the evidence, Olga must wipe her profile from the agency’s database. Olga smiles at Anna’s ingenuity and proceeds to do just that. In her mind, Anna deserved her freedom and most definitely earned it.

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