Movie ANON Review: the movie causing moral dilemma

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Movie ANON Review: the movie causing moral dilemma  - Photo credit: Amber255 via

Greetings! As I mentioned earlier, I have the rule to watch a new movie every Friday. Last Friday, it was a science fiction thriller ANON. Watching a trailer, I got really curious, and I thought the movie developed a great idea, so I waited for a great time in a cinema. Yes, I was too excited to watch what the director of the movie did with this great idea.  And so, read a new movie ANON review, and you will understand if I was satisfied with this new work of the Andrew Niccol. 

Andrew Niccol, a screenwriter for such great movies like Gattaca, Lord of War, In Time, came to our cinemas on May 11 with a new utopian film that perfectly combines entertainments and moral dilemmas. In a science fiction thriller ANON, the director tells the story about an immediate future. In that future, the lives of people are daily tracked and controlled for the reason of public security, and in order to fight against crimes. 

As the movie release reports wrote, the movie makers focused on topical issues of these days. The cameras trace every humans' step, the number of crimes goes down, but at the same time, there is no left place for the privacy and anonymity. Every step of any person is visible, recorded, and controlled.

ANON International Trailer  - Video credit: movieclipsTRAILERS via

The Short Story of The Movie ANON

The movie's action is performed in some perfect future. There are no flying cars as we see in other fantasy movies, but there is super-technology of the Third Eye: an electronic system built into the head/eyes of each person, with which he controls his entire life. Difficult to explain it, but now the whole world for people looks like a solid computer monitor with the built-in scanner. There is absolutely no privacy or secrets because everything that you see with your eyes is recorded in a state-controlled database and can be viewed at any time. Thus, crime no longer exists in practice. 

The main hero of the movie, an experienced and honest policeman, Sal Frydland (actor Clive Owen), sincerely believes in the need of use measures. In the context of investigating the unexplained crimes, a man faces an incredible and impossible thing: a young woman (actress Amanda Seyfried), which, according to official records, should not exist. There is no record of her in any database, the girl does not have a story or even a name. And at the same time, a wave of murders begins to cross the city. There's nothing left to do, he must find the girl, the only person in the world, who is not in the state database. 

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The new acquaintance is a computer specialist, known only on behalf of the Girl. She warns Sal that his own life is in danger. A shocked policeman begins to follow new tracks that reveal much bigger crimes than those he is investigating now. 

Sal has to go into cunning and work declaring himself as a lucky financier - the potential client of the hacker of the newest formation, specializing in the seizure and substitution of compromising memories. Everything indicates that the girl with the nickname Anon, who responded to the ad and was suitable for a verbal description, just carried out brutal reprisals against wealthy customers. However, there the question arises: how to locate and neutralize those who can not only erase information about themselves, but also connect to the eyes of another person, and create visual impediments to the persecutor? Well, I will not reveal the secrets of how it ended.


Movie ANON - Photo credit:

The Content of the Movie

Have you seen at least one series of Black Mirror serial? Then congratulations, you've already seen this movie. Okay, maybe I've said too hard, but I must admit that watching ANON, I really felt like watching a two-hour series of the Black Mirror. And that's not good, although I like that serial. In the ANON, everything seemed so stretched that I would rather have been watching the same story, cropped up to 45 minutes. But it is as it is. Let's see what ANON is offering us.

As I already mentioned, the movie is presented by director Andrew Niccol. His filmography really is great, so it seems like we should expect something really unique. The whole cocktail of the ideas seems should go well, but the taste is a bit disappointing. However, there is one thing that, unfortunately, damages a lot. And that's what makes the movie unique - scenario. Well, I do not know what happened with it, but although it seems that the story itself sounds interesting, its real fulfillment is extremely boring and hard to understand. If it were a series of the serial that lasted 45 minutes, everything would be fine, but stretching out the movie to two hours, we have a tedious deal. And just a good atmosphere, unfortunately, does not help. The ending of the film is also so strange, and it's neither ending up nor answering questions. Sad. Because there was a real potential for such an idea.


The scene of the movie ANON - Photo credit:

The audience awaited ANON, and me too. From the first glance, it seems a promising science fiction thriller about an anonymous murderer, that entangles into the human vision system (imagine ultra-modern Google Glasses) and steal or even altering human data. The bigger the movie's potential - the bigger the reaction. And this time it is very bad.

The story is told in an uneven rhythm, there are many not significant pauses, dramatic silences, magnificent scenes. These seem attractive enough.  Probably the trailer of the movie has made it possible to expect a good preview. Watching just a few frames, a few scenes - it seems involving the watcher. However, it cannot save ANON.


Science Fiction Thriller ANON - Photo credit:

Or maybe at least the idea is good, and the conversations are funny? Dialogues in the movie are just to tell the viewer what's going on, and what to see. And the idea is somewhere beyond.

 It can be said that the basic idea is this: you need to cherish reality and memories, not electronic files and data that are not yours but owned by data collecting companies.

 After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, these minimalist findings all people already have made by themselves. The majority made even before the scandal. ANON does not go deeper, so the target audience remains unclear - content looks like for the adults but tailored like to children.

The story of the characters is developed with difficulty. In some scenes, it just does not move from the spot, and nothing happens, no explanation of the actions of the actors or are giving them motivation. In one word, it is not impressive.


The scene from the movie ANON  -  Photo credit:

Delete, erase everything... For you to understand, this is words from the film ANON - a bit softened and quite accurately reflecting thoughts that are born after previewing this movie. This film looks too long, and after preview, it is desirable to remove it from the memory. But, firstly, the humanity has so far not mastered such technologies as are presented in the movie. And secondly, it is hard to understand how such a strange movie came from the author of the Gattaki, Terminal, and Truman's Show.

 It seems, that in the future, a person completely open to the world has only the lowest values: sex, alcohol, and cigarettes. Even the food here appears less often. Only 2 times, to be more precise. The color is only in the memories. and blood. Niccol convincingly shows how blurred and faceless a society will be, where total oversight is a norm. People hardly imagine how to live without it. And for the hero of Clive Owen, to catch the hacker with Anon's nickname is not so much a matter of justice as a matter of curiosity. 

ANON movie interview: Clive Owen and Andrew Niccol - Video credit: dvdandblurayreview via

 The Technical Side of the Movie

 Let's talk about what's good. ANON's genre could be described as rather dark (both plot, and lighting). It is like detective films of the past, just everything is happening in the future. And it's done very well - the film's atmosphere and aesthetics are absolutely amazing. Beautifully arranged scenes, some futuristic minimalism, cold colors - and in my opinion, it's a dessert.

 The soundtrack, though not memorized but fitted with the mood of the movie. I like old detective films, so I was really pleasantly surprised by the director's decision to create such an atmosphere - I felt like watching the detective of old filmography. As we like to say - good vibe. 


Amanda Seyfried in ANON  - Photo credit:

The Collective Work of the Actors

 The main roles are performed by great actors Amanda Seyfried, and Clive Owen. The director has invited the great actors, so it's no wonder, that they are doing their job properly. But what do they can do if the characters of the movie are just flat like a land's surface? Clive Owen is full of anxiety, hope, and human challenges, but having a strong character. And unfortunately, his potential is lost in the sea of ANON faceless characters. The software code used for any of the movie's special effects is more advanced than Clive Owen's character the Sol. He does not need to play cynicism, it is written on his face. But any attempt to play humanity or weakness is a surprise. But since there are only a few such episodes in the ANON, it's hardly that the actor is shocking the audience by his performance.


Clive Owen in a movie ANON - Photo credit:

Amanda Seyfried, performing the mysterious Anon, is exactly the same as pale. Maybe such an idea, you say - after all, it is an anonymous character. Of course. But mysterious, and hard-to-understand actors require much more advanced character.

Andrew Niccol seems to have saved a wig for the actress-blonde from their previous joint work, the film In Time, which looks so weird on her. But, apparently, the director has some point on light hair. And this copying of images is striking. 


Amanda Seyfried in a movie ANON - Photo credit:

 I think she’s great. She’s really great in the part, and I had a very good time with her. She was perfectly cast. She’s a very strong actress. She’s very powerful   - CLIVE OWEN


Another thing I just want to be a bit angry about is why every single role, who is not the main one, is an absolutely absurdly boring robot?  My God, is it hard to show at least some emotion? Are you all dead inside? Did you were just paid for to be your own bugaboo? I do not understand this, because a good detective genre film requires that absolutely every person is interesting and engaging in order the watchers would feel themselves living in a different, darker but more entertaining world. It's very poorly filled accent, so I am angry. ANON could eliminate 90% of the actors and everything would be pretty much the same.

In general, ANON is a decent actors challenge. After all, the acting here mainly involves eyes, eyebrows, cheekbones, and a little chin. And if the plot was more energetic, watching this game would be interesting. But, unfortunately, it is boring. Partly due to the big accumulation of technical information, partly because of the general indifference of the heroes to the events, partly due to poorly written characters. The dialogues might have been interesting if there were some dynamics in the dialogues.


The scene of the movie ANON - photo credit:

On the Final Note - Verdict 

The movie will really make you think and will show where the world is going to go if we continue to allow use our data to others with an easy hand. Already now, not only our neighbors but also everyone who wants can easily know, where we are going and what we are doing. Some people even create accounts for their home pets on social media, so our lives are like an open book to others. ANON will force us to stop and think about what we are doing wrong.

Maybe it would not be so bad if Andrew Niccol had not created one of the best science fiction thrillers- Gattaca? Perhaps, it would be curious if the topic of the movie was not so relevant but so badly fulfilled? Maybe it's even a fun movie to watch if audience care of actors? So many maybe, so I will offer one solid "no" - do not watch this movie. By the way, write if you liked ANON. I wonder why.


Andrew Niccol's ANON - photo credit:

So, summing up, the conclusion is like clear - it could be much better. Such potentially unfulfilled films are likely to be more disappointing than movies, that you expect to be poor. It's especially regrettable that the director has really created great films, but unfortunately, ANON does not match them.  ANON is causing a moral dilemma - if we do not think about privacy, the movie will soon become a reality.

The theme while good is starting to become a little repetitive. I mean technology is evil and privacy is what matters is something relevant but not new at all. And is worst when is inside such bad stories like this one. The mistery is dull, the characters have zero chemistry and the film is painfully slow and to make matters worst, the resolution was really poor. Completely forgettable. Terrible coming from Andrew Niccol. 


 Verdict - it is a very unsuccessful attempt to seriously talk about the issue of protecting personal data and network anonymity.

Have a fun watching!

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