The Anomaly (2014)
A former soldier is taken captive and awakens in the back of a van where he learns that he only has a few moments to figure out how he got there.
Noel Clarke : Ryan
Ian Somerhalder : Harkin Langham
Alexis Knapp : Dana
Brian Cox : Dr. Langham
Director : Noel Clarke
“Is there a technology that allows people to control somebody else’s mind?
Tell me about mind control!”
Once I was looking at a painting in an art gallery. I was studying this creation of modern art for more than half an hour and still I couldn’t grasp what it actually wanted to prove and I came to the conclusion that after rotating it a quarter turn, there won’t be any essential change. And then I remember the compulsory reading of a literary work out of the magical-mythical oeuvre of a Dutch writer, who used two pages to describe dead flies on a windowsill. And clearly I recollect the lesson “Statistics” at the university, looking at the blackboard for more than an hour and wondering what all the complicated theorems really meant. I had the same feeling while watching “The Anomaly“. After half an hour I asked myself “What the hell am I watching and what’s the meaning of it all ?“. Seeing the main character waking up for the fifth time in a different location, looking around in a dopey way and not understanding how he ended up there at a different time in the future, began to irritate quickly. Meanwhile I could admire the graceful butt of a lascivious-looking vamp. Although it was a tasty image that claimed my attention, the urge to give up became larger by the minute.
It all starts with Ryan (Noel Clarke), an ex-soldier suffering from a trauma, waking up in a moving van where he finds a boy called Alex who is being kidnapped. He escapes with Alex but soon discovers that he only has a limited time to find out what is happening. To be precise, he only has 9 minutes and 47 seconds each time he wakes up and before he loses consciousness again. Slowly but surely he discovers that he’s part of a conspiracy and his actions are coordinated by someone else.
As I mentioned earlier, it takes a while before you begin to realize what it’s all about. “The Anomaly” is a dull low-budget film which starts very slowly and finally, when all the pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place, it all looks fairly simplistic and even ridiculously farfetched. It’s like a rough mix of “Source Code“, “The Bourne Identity“, “Edge of Tomorrow” and “The Matrix“. Regaining consciousness over and over again resembles a bit “Edge of Tomorrow“, except that this phenomenon in the latter made sure there was tension and some comic moments. In this SF it’s only a soporific effect. The fight scenes that occur repeatedly are a faint copy of this from “The Matrix” with the frequent use of slow motion images which isn’t very conducive to the overall tempo in this film. Also the technical implementation by Noel Clarke during these fights wasn’t convincing. It seemed as if he was waiting for something all the time. In other words, it wasn’t really smooth.
Noel Clarke is quite a handyman in movie land. This British actor (better known for his role in the TV series “Doctor Who“) directed this trifle and demanded to act as the leading star. Besides looking puzzled and surprised, painfully gasping after receiving an inhuman hard blow and acting as heroic as possible by repeatedly proclaiming that he eagerly wants to save the young boy Alex, there was nothing impressive to admire for the rest. I am quite convinced that the film was sponsored by a manufacturer of mens underwear, because Clarke was running around in it several times. Also the graceful leading lady Alexis Knapp as Dana, the Mother Theresa of this film, could be admired while wearing it or even less. At the first appearance we could glance at her lower body part and afterwards she was also scantily dressed. Eventually these were all fragments needed to raise the slacking attention, but at the same time I realized that her contribution only served to make things more sensual. Ian “Lost” Somerhalder is the one that appears again and again and who plays a significant role in the whole plot. I could not get rid of the impression that it was more a commercial decision to let him play so the female audience also could enjoy the ride. Brian Cox (“The Bourne Identity“, “Mindscape” “Her” and “Doctor Who“) has a lot of acting experience , but in this movie he’s reduced to a houseplant who hardly comes into the picture.
An unconvincing story, no impressive performances and a total lack of tension. There’s not much left anymore to save this from going down the drain completely. And the fact that this is a low-budget film, also means that the SE’s won’t be impressive. Admittedly, London still looks futuristic with the digitally added buildings at the background and flying airships. But the moment Ryan arrives at Times Square, everything looks average and contemporary (Even a screenshot shows that “We’re the Millers” is still popular in the future.). The complete concept wasn’t ill-conceived, only the script was poor and incoherent with some ridiculous situations. You didn’t need to wait for this very long. Already at the beginning there was something wrong with the pursuit. Young Alex and Ryan have a small lead and yet they were too quick for the probably well-trained kidnappers. With an Olympic effort they managed to take a nice lead. And despite the high-tech gadgets that were available, they still couldn’t prevent sun-flares disturbing the satellites. Eventually I began to wonder if the title of the film wasn’t a reference to the film itself. Maybe it was just an exception to the rule “It’s so bad, it turns out good”.