'Anon' Film Review (2018)
What's It About?
In a world without anonymity or crime, a detective meets a woman who threatens their security.
Andrew Niccol is the writer and director, best known for writing The Truman Show (1998), The Terminal (2004) and The Host (2013).
Niccol has 3 scripts awaiting production:
Manhattan Brave: No revealed plot or genre.
Monopoly: Centers on a boy from the game's modest Baltic Avenue, on a quest to make a fortune.
The Cross: An action movie.
He is now one of seven writers working on The Gemini Man in production. It's about an over-the-hill hit-man going up against a clone of himself. It's due for release in October 2019 and will star Clive Owen, Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong. It's directed by Ang Lee (Life of Pi).
Quick Film Info
Budget: $20 million.
Release: May 2018 and ran on Netflix from May 4th 2018.
Runtime: 100 minutes.
Genre: Sci-fi, Thriller.
Starring: Clive Owen, Afiya Bennett, Morgan Allen, Jeffrey Man and Amanda Seyfried.
How Was It?
I don't watch a lot of science fiction movies, but when I do it's because of a plot like this. If one thing is for certain, the mind of the director and writer Andrew Niccol has the profound ability to take a normal or common situation and expand the universe it lives in. In The Terminal, he made an airport someone's whole life. In The Truman Show, a man lives inside a made up fictional television universe. In many more of his films, he asks the questions we would most like answered in a futuristic, real and logical way.
Anon has many ingredients I look for in a film. A detective named Sal (Clive Owen) who can pretty much look up anyone's details by glancing at them on the street. Everyone's memories get recorded and in a world where crime is seldom seen anymore, a spate of murder happens. These aren't just any murders either. Sal and the other investigators discover that a woman he sees called The Girl (Seyfried) can't be identified.
It reminded me of that episode of Black Mirror called Crocodile where insurance investigators can look up your memories to verify claims. A detail like this works in a short film. Somehow as a feature-length film where this concept gets expanded on, what should have been an exciting movie ends up dragging.
I really like Clive Owen. He did a great job taking his stuffy detective character and giving its quasi-noir surroundings some personality. It was obvious that this universe created for Sal caused him to have the same feeling of monotony as anyone working a boring job. Finding The Girl was the most exciting thing to happen to him in a long time.
For me though, the story revolved around the wrong character. While he chased and chatted and tried to figure everything out, there was only a little story to The Girl. And let's face it, I wanted to see more of the hacker than the detective. The highlight for me, though, was Sal catching glimpses of the crimes in first person. What an amazing concept.
Somehow this movie was tedious. By the time it became clear what had happened, I wasn't that excited anymore. When it finally arrived at the finale, there just wasn't enough meat left in the sandwich to have made it a good meal.
I give Anon 2.5 high-tech whodunits out of 5.
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