Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Movie Review: "Anon" (2018)

Director: Andrew Niccol
Year: 2018
Rating: TV-MA
Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

In the future where everything is recorded through biological eye implants, a police investigator tries to solve a series of murders committed by a hacker who keeps their identity a secret by hacking the system and changing the perspective of each victim to that of the killer.
"Who can hack a human being?" (Image Source)
"Anon" takes "big brother" to the extreme. It wasn't enough to monitor all of our communications, cell phones, webcams, and closed-circuit cameras everywhere, the government had to take it a step further and implant cameras into our eyeballs! Yay! This movie is written and directed by Andrew Niccol, who has directed films like "Gattaca," S1mone," and "Lord of War." It stars Clive Owen as Sal Frieland, a police investigator whose job mostly involves reviewing video footage recorded from said eye implants. His latest murder case is different because the killer is a hacker who changes the perspective of their victim to that of the murderer. All the police have to go on is the footage from the killer's point of view. The prime suspect in the case is a hacker called Anon (Amanda Seyfried) because, before their death, every victim was a client of hers. Now, Sal has to go undercover to try to get hard evidence to link the hacker to the killings.
"We close our eyes to pray, cry, kiss, dream...or break the law." (Image Source)
We have to assume Andrew Niccol is a pretty paranoid person considering he wrote this and "The Truman Show," which are both films about people who are constantly being watched. There are some aspects of "Anon" that are interesting. The whole idea of having a camera in the eye of every person would make for a compelling story if that story could really examine the morality of it all, bad and good. Niccol touches on this briefly but doesn't go into enough depth about the problems with it. He doesn't truly explore the corruption and exploitation that can happen with an authoritarian government that monitors your every move. If he had capitalized on this fully, "Anon" would have been ten times more riveting.

The style of this film is very industrial with large concrete buildings with a color palette the ranges between white, gray, and black. The attitude of most of the characters reflects this flat color palette as the emotional range rarely rises above 'solemn.' This is a whodunit-style murder mystery, though it isn't a very satisfying one. It has a finale we found very reminiscent of 2017's "The Snowman," and if you've had the displeasure of seeing that film, you'll know this is not a complimentary statement. We find this comparison apt because none of the evidence really points towards any person in particular, it feels like Niccol just decided who the killer was at the last minute and slapped an ending on it. The narrative is full of constant misdirection and red herrings. Since everyone looks at the world through a hackable feed, people can't even trust their own eyes, which again is an interesting concept...if only it had been explored better. The pacing of this sci-fi thriller is also a bit slow, and the movie starts to dawdle after a while. Instead of getting more gripping as it moves towards its climax, we found ourselves losing interest in "Anon" more with each passing minute.
"It's not that I have something to hide. I have nothing I want you to see." (Image Source)
In the end, "Anon" winds up being a decent sci-fi thriller with a concept that's never fully realized and a story that's almost entirely forgettable.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~6.1/10
RT Rating: ~40%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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  1. This movie just stole everything from Ghost in The Shell, it seems people is running out of originality.

    1. That is a good point, Rolando! It definitely felt a bit familiar in terms of its plot, but originality in film is becoming scarcer and scarcer these days. We still found some things to enjoy about this one.

      Have a good day!