Netflix has opened the door for directors who normally would not have been given a second glance in Hollywood. With the May release of Anon, directed by Andrew Niccol, the streaming service is proving it wants to tackle certain hot button issues using the power of science fiction.
In a dystopian future, privacy and anonymity have vanished with the government program Mind’s Eye, which has digitized the human brain into the “Ether,” allowing law enforcement, loved ones, and the local public access to everyone’s memories at all times.
Detective Sal Frieland (Clive Owen) is a trouble man living in this world. He has lost his son in an accident and his wife has left for another man. He is soon called to a murder scene unlike any he has seen before. When he tries to access the victim’s memories, they find the killer has hacked his victim’s brains, making face recognition impossible. After more murders, the police find that all the victims had hired a rogue hacker called an Anon (Amanda Seyfried) to “patch” over their memories to hide embarrassing details about their lives.
Sal is selected as bait to find the Anon. This leads to a deadly and emotional game of cat-and-mouse unlike Sal or the police force have ever seen before. In a world of openness, how do you find a killer who does not want to be found?
I found the concept engaging and the plot interesting. I did enjoy how Niccol, who also wrote the film, developed this world of lost privacy. It is a topic that I am very passionate about since I am a big believer in the right to privacy. I thought the idea of this battle of Security VS. Privacy was introduced well in this film.
For the practical side, production values were good and I found that the visual design matched the tone of the film. That being said, Netflix is obsessed with putting foul language and sex in their films. I’m no prude, but seriously, it got to the point of eye-rolling. It added nothing to the film and did not make it seem anymore “edgy” than any other rated ‘R’ movie I have ever seen.
Another point of contention of the film is that I feel like Owens and Seyfried’s acting skills are wasted. They are both fine actors, but there is this recent trend in movies where the thespians have to act wooden except when they are angry. Seriously, no emotion was seen throughout the whole film except when a character was losing his cool. Even the scenes where the murder victims were suppose to be scared came off as forced and more confused than anything.
In a world where privacy has vanished, it makes little sense to act stiff. If I thought anyone could just read my mind, I would just act and say what I am really thinking instead of trying to put on a pretense of blankness. If it was to make the film feel more nihilistic, it failed.
FAVORITE QUOTE: It’s not that I have something to hide. I have nothing I want you to see.
PARENTAL CONCERN: Violence, Sexual Content, Foul Language
Check out the trailer below:
That is my review. What did you think? Let me know in the comments below and tell me if there’s a movie you’d like me to review. Check out my thoughts on the documentary film Farmlands. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.