‘Anon’ Netflix Feature Review
Anon: Adverb, meaning soon or shortly.
Anon: the title of the 2018 Andrew Niccol science-fiction film, which is appropriately named once you know the definition of the word.
Anon stars Clive Owen as Sal and Amanda Seyfried simply as “The Girl.” The film is set in the future when people walk around with machines built into their heads. The machines store memories, passwords, and favorite items similarly to how a computer would. Imagine being able to access music and movies with a thought. That’s a future I’d gladly live in. Most importantly to the movie’s plot, the machine records everything you see from the most powerful lenses on the planet: the eyes.
Sal, a competent detective, uses those memories and recordings to solve crimes. That is until he comes across “The Girl,” who can hack into people’s minds and edit those memories.
With the introduction of Seyfried’s character, a twisted and scary world is created. The closer we get to integrating our bodies with machines, the more realistic a future like this sounds. Hence, anon. Soon.
The story that plays out is a twisted adventure that forces viewers to concentrate because there are many little details to keep track of. Settings change quickly, as do the characters, and what is happening may not be happening.
When a director makes a film with a deceptive science-fiction plot, he or she needs a great cast. That’s precisely what Andrew Niccol gets. Clive Owen does a great job as a headstrong detective that has to figure out how to overcome “The Girl’s” mind hack. Seyfried also delivers in Anon. I’ve never been a huge fan of hers, but I was instantly invested in her character. Seyfried plays “The Girl” confidently and transforms her performance based on her current setting. These changes show her impressive range that only a remarkable director would be able to extract from the young actress.
Special effects: fantastic. Concept: great. Setting and set design: more than adequate, so why don’t I consider this movie a science-fiction success?
Anon is a cleverly conceived science-fiction story, but Niccol doesn’t throw the knockout punch. The same was true of Niccol’s 2011 film In Time, which also starred Amanda Seyfried. Each film had intriguing concepts, but Niccol didn’t quite stick the execution.
To be fair, Niccol struck gold with Gattaca, his debut, so I was optimistic that he would return to that glory with Anon. 1997’s Gattaca is one of the best, original science-fiction movies ever released. Then he followed it up by writing The Truman Show. In the late nineties, it seemed as if Niccol was going to have a career in league with the best science fiction writers. Unfortunately, his latest films have not lived up to those earlier releases.
Anon is good but not great. It’s smart sci-fi, but it’s not Gattaca nor is it The Truman Show. Niccol’s latest is enjoyable at times and grabs your attention, but unless you have time to kill, it might be one to skip. I mean, you could always put on Gattaca instead.
You can stream Anon on Netflix right now and form your own opinion. Share with us your opinion in the comments and review the film below.