Anon: Film Review

I’m a big fan of Andrew Niccol‘s work, from In Time to his screenplay for The Truman Show, because they serve as a warning about what the future could be like, and how technology could be misused, and Anon is no different – this time he takes a look at privacy.

Anon is set in an alternative present, where nobody has phones anymore as they have screens built into their mind’s eye – and every time they look at a person, quick stats and a short biography about them comes up, and everything they see is recorded. Basically, no actions can be kept secret and nobody is anonymous – except a small group of hackers who have managed to wipe their histories and bios clean. The Girl (Amanda Seyfried) is one of these, and she comes under investigation by detective Sal Frieland (Clive Owen) when people who use hacker services start being murdered.

This is very interesting and thought-provoking because it could totally happen. It isn’t so out-there and far-fetched; we are giving our data and privacy away all the time without realising it so Anon is simply an exaggeration of that. It really makes you think about how much information you put give out and whether you agree The Girl, who wants anonymity, or Sal, who thinks those people are automatically suspicious.

It is also remarkably clever. A lot of the film is told through Sal’s point of view, showing us the information he sees about everybody through his mind’s eye, and there are interesting concepts such as paying for things by just thinking it – the transaction then comes onscreen. This new, technologically-advanced way of life is all told visually, and is presented in a clear, easy to understand way, even though it could have been overwhelmingly complex. The attention to detail is insane and I would need to see it again to fully appreciate everything.

I’m not sure Owen was the best person for the job. He looks right, but I think someone could have done more emotionally. I just didn’t rate him as an actor here. Seyfried, however, is excellent because she looks both innocent and like she’s got something to hide, which makes her hard to figure out.

Anon doesn’t quite stick the landing, but it is an intriguing and compelling sci-fi and serial killer story which poses many interesting ideas, without being too preachy about privacy. Definitely worth a go if you like Niccol’s previous work.

In cinemas and on Sky Cinema from Friday 11th May 

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