Friday, 8 June 2018

Anon

To me, Anon was a promising affair: a movie written and directed by Andrew Nicole, of GATTACA fame, and starring Clive Owen, one of the best male actors around, will always be a movie I'd want to watch.
Anon is set in a near future that looks a lot like the past: very impersonal, very gray, very bleak, with only a few cars moving about and them being all seventies gas guzzling police cars.
The catch in this world is that everyone has a recorder on their eyes that takes down everything they see and makes it available to authorities. Not that this recorder doesn’t offer the layperson any benefits: it also tells them the name of any person they meet, and allows them to view past scenes of their lives. To the police, however, it enables complete supervision over everyone’s life, with all the implications this has on finding the criminals responsible to every crime.
The plot revolves mostly around a police detective (Clive Owen) who tries to catch a sexy woman we only know as Anon (Amanda Seyfried). Anon’s special ability is to be able to, somehow, delete scenes from people’s past lives; society cannot allow for that, can it? Especially the police. Hence Anon become a target. She’s an even bigger target through her clients seeming to be shot dead by her hands after the business transaction is over, though.
Thus we have ourselves a murder mystery detective story with the mandatory fam fatale that is set in a dystopian world where there is no such thing as privacy: Film noir if ever there was one.
Anon the movie is, essentially, a platform for Andrew Nicole with which to ask us viewers questions on the merits of privacy. He is basically asking why we are willing to give it away so easily in return for nothing, arguing very correctly (through the characters of Seyfried and Owen) that this dichotomy we live by whereas we sacrifice privacy for security did not give us any security improvements. Mostly, though, Anon is a case against that most commonly used argument of “nothing to fear, nothing to hide”: if you have nothing to hide from the authorities then you have nothing to fear from them either, hence you do not lose anything when you hand them your most intimate information. Anon simply argues that while this may be true, perhaps there are things we don’t want to share, thank you very much?
Bleakness aside, Anon’s message is delivered quite explicitly. By explicitly I mean just that: there are scenes that will be commonly referred to as “strong sex scenes” (as in, scenes where sex is depicted more explicitly than we are used to in mainstream movies). Similarly, there are scenes of drug use. I guess it goes with the turf: sex, in particular, would be the number one thing most people would prefer not to share with authorities, the public, or anyone for that matter.
Overall: An excellent idea for a movie that is quite hampered by the rather heavy handed bleakness which, in turn, creates a movie that is a bit too hard to digest and get into. 3 out of 5 crabs.

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