Thursday, May 17, 2018

ANON - An Average Science Fiction Thriller with Nice Idea but Lacking the Thrill

Yesterday, there were 2 new movies that premiered in 2 Indonesia cinema chains. One was a French movie while the other was a movie that I decided to see last night. There were not a lot of theater options to see this one but it did play in a cinema not far from my office at around 7 PM. This time I chose to watch this by myself as my wife was occupied with other things. So we shall move on to the movie now.

Brief Story Line

Set in the future, everyone was implanted with some kind of "chip"? (not really detailed in the movie) which gave access of information to everything through their own eyes. The information were so detail that we could see the name, age & profession of a person, or a make & model of a car, even a dog's breed & its name and other info. A police detective named Sal Frieland (Clive Owen - Valerian and City of Thousand Planets, King Arthur etc) was able to resolve lots of cases with the help from accessing information recorded in the database of that "chip" which were all connected through the "Ether".

With his partner Charlie (Colm Feore - Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, House of Cards TV series etc), Sal had to solve a series of murder where the data of the culprit could not be seen from the eyes of the victims like in normal cases. The only connection of these murders were the presence of a mysterious Girl (Amanda Seyfried - Red Riding Hood, Mamma Mia! etc). Due to the difficulty of this case since there was no data of the Girl at all, Sal and Charlie were assisted by Lester (Joe Pingue), an expert in Ether and another detective named Cyrus (Mark O'Brien). They decided to trap the girl who called herself Anon due to her anonymity by using Sal as bait.

So could Sal and the others capture Anon? Find them all in this rather unique science fiction thriller movie.

End of Brief Story Line

I got to admit that this movie was rather difficult to understand at first. There was no background of how the Ether was setup and its function, so the first 10 minutes I was trying to figure out how the thing work. It was a good thing that later on the concept was easier to grasp, when we can finally understand the use of such system, especially once we were shown the view from Sal as a detective. The trailer to the movie was pretty good as it gave us the impression of an interesting thriller movie. But the movie itself was totally different from what it pictured.

Throughout the whole movie which lasted for around 96 minutes (four minutes shorter than the duration shown in IMDB and Wikipedia), the movie pace was going rather slow. Funnily enough, it did not make me very bored but rather intrigued on how the Girl could pull through with such crimes. What I do not like though was the twist towards the end, because I felt it was rather illogical and not really necessary. It would probably be a useful twist had there been some kind of scene that would give such impression.

In term of story, I think the idea was quite brilliant. However, if there was some kind of background story or even short narrative of how the thing was setup in the first place, I could enjoy it more. I have mentioned above that the duration of the movie was a lot shorter than the original. This could be understood as there were quite a number of scenes for adults (love making scene and some nudity) which were obviously cut by the Indonesian censorship body. Therefore, this movie would definitely not suitable for young audience.

As a science fiction thriller movie, it could be qualified as a not too bad one. The director & writer Andrew Niccol was quite experienced in writing & directing some science fiction movies such as Gattaca, Simone, The Host and few others. Though one thing that made me a little disappointed was there was not a lot of thrill or suspense and a supposedly science fiction thriller movie. Yes the futuristic idea of this kind of technology is definitely quite possible, but other than the good idea and the challenge of capturing the Girl, this movie did not offer anything else. The best part of the movie that I like was the cinematography & the futuristic style of the buildings and the investigation which was very intriguing, plus a sense of neo-noir. It reminded me a bit of the movie Blade Runner or Ghost in the Shell.

I think this movie might be more satisfying to see on TV with the comfort of trying to rewind if we could not understand or wanted to catch something that we might have missed. After all, this was an original Netflix movie and was shown through its online streaming media but not in Indonesia. Anyway, if you are looking for a very average science fiction thriller (without so much thrill) then perhaps you could give this a try. Do not expect something very sophisticated and very good that would really satisfy you. I myself would not recommend this to be seen in the cinema but rather to see it through online streaming.

Mike's movie moments rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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