"A slick and sexy sci-fi"
Imagine being able to see every memory you have ever had, and playing said memories back to yourself inside your mind, whenever you wanted to look back. Sounds exciting and enthralling, but also deeply unsettling. I know what you're thinking - it does sound suspiciously like a Black Mirror episode, yet ‘Gattaca’ and ‘In Time’, writer director Andrew Niccol's transformed such a concept making his mark with this sci-fi infused murder mystery - Anon.
Launching on Sky Cinema on Friday May 11th; Anon follows terribly London and slightly disheveled detective Sal Frieland (Clive Owen) currently solving a sting of murders – or indeed, desperately trying to. In a futuristic, Blade Runner-esque (minus the spaceships) setting, advanced biosynth implants are embedded in everyone’s skulls. We along with our characters are constantly subjected to advertisements and an inescapable continuous and somewhat relentless visual stream nick-named the ‘Mind’s Eye’ capturing and of course logging everyone’s, every moment. The result - absolutely no privacy, no ignorance and virtually no crime, that such a series of deaths sparks a true nitty-gritty investigation (rain, trench coats and all, just minus Cumberbatch).
You would think with access to everyone’s most personal memories from deep within what they call ‘The Ether’, solving such a case would be easy, albeit when our agent walks past a woman who doesn’t register on his system Sal becomes fixated on catching her. Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried hold their own against Niccol's ideas. Seyfried brings her inner bad girl to life, molding herself into a sexy, edgy, leather wearing hacker named Anon with bangs, whilst Owen is a convincing whiskey-drinking agent dealing with ghosts from his past. Earning a living through people’s mistakes, wiping people’s memories and replacing them with innocent ones Anon has chosen a careful algorithm to live her life by until Sal hunts her down.
A palette of greys and blacks consume the screen here alongside the simply mesmerizing geometric effects that assist us when navigate through the ‘The Ether’, providing us with a scary look at what a hi-tech future could behold. Laughter alongside pangs of emotion are up for grabs, as well as a twist that perhaps many might figure out from the get go; yet it’s a revelation that fails to give you closure.
With today's technology, this doesn't seem too far from the truth. The ongoing talks of chipping and CCTV on virtually every street corner, it’s no doubt our every move is already being watched - it’s no wonder people stay away from social media just like our clever hacker does expertly here.
Anon will have any Black Mirror fan on their knees wanting more after watching. Transforming the detective world as we know it, this is both enjoyable and shockingly scary - big brothers always watching. This isn’t conventional sci-fi, but allows the spectator to escape into a world that isn’t that dis-similar to our own, and relish the differences.