Anon: Not Quite There

We watched Anon last night. The trailer makes this look like a reasonable cyberpunk action flick – does it deliver?


Despite reasonable star power with Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried, and a good start, what follows is a sagging, poorly-paced tale marginally redeemed by an on-point ending.

Anon features Owen’s character Sal, a kind of future police officer with the easiest job in the world, since everyone’s got cybereyes that record their every waking moment. After uncovering a soft underbelly of criminals who can edit these memories from the public record, we’re treated to about 45 minutes of old white men sitting in sterile-looking rooms, all while they watch snips of the world through other people’s eyes.

There’s quite a lot of naked women on display, sadly not balanced by men – which we should probably be thankful for, as the male side of the cast appear to be made up mostly from the reanimated dead. I’m pleased they kept their clothes on. None of this is as ridiculous as the predictable tryst between Owen and Seyfried’s characters, who share no special connection other than the scriptwriter’s desire to see a 54-year-old actor wearing a singlet get sexy with his 34-year-old co-star (credited as “The Girl,” which should tell you about all you need to know here).

Technology in Anon is the real star of the show: a possible near-future where the government and corporate systems feel like we’re almost there. Watching the opening will leave you worried about privacy and our right to it. If you squint right, you’ll see Facebook’s data-collection rubbing shoulders with Microsoft’s HoloLens. Nothing they show is too far-fetched, and should make you question how much data you’re giving to The Man™, whether that is a G-Man or Megacorp.

It leaves us with a tantalising conundrum: do we have a right to privacy, when surrendering it can make so many crimes disappear? In the words of Seyfried’s The Girl, “It’s not that I have something to hide; it’s that there’s so many things I don’t want you to see.” Despite this well-delivered punchline, Anon sags across the finish line – 2/5 stars.

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