Anon felt like an extended, large budget episode of Black Mirror that can’t quite figure out which technology it wants to attack. It also felt like a very natural succession from Gattaca. It was paced about as slowly as Gattaca too (and even has the same desaturated look), which doesn’t lend itself as well considering this is supposed to be a brainy thriller. What it does do really well is tech noir, and it’s probably the best visual representation of the potential of AR I’ve seen on film. It’s not great as a mystery though.
The problem in this movie, more than anything, is how predicable it all is. Even down to the last monologue at the end, the last 1/2 of the movie is one predictable event after another. Despite all that, the aesthetic here is super in my wheelhouse, and I enjoyed it despite the flaws. It drags a bit, and probably would have been fine as an hour long Black Mirror.
Speaking of Black Mirror, Anon does a bad job of really turning its AR world into a horror show. While I sympathized with Amanda Seyfried’s character’s desire to be anonymous, I’m also in the minority of people who would–the world presented here just isn’t all that bad–and I’m not sure people are really going to walk away with the same message the film is trying to present. This world looks cool. And the downside is the potential for being hacked, not the AR overlays that surround everyone. There are short, small moments where you catch actors staring into oblivious–and I can’t believe these aren’t shown more often. If this worked like it does in the movie, people would be blankly staring at each other all the time as they concentrated on the AR, not the person in front of them. It seems liked there was some missed potential in those moments.