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Common Man's View: 'Anon'

Like a cross between 'PsychoPass' and 'Ghost in the Shell,' but with less philosophy and live-action.

By Caleb ShermanPublished 6 years ago 4 min read

It's no secret that I love anime, and for the most part, I think live adaptations of anime are poorly executed. But, when I see a movie that seems to have taken cues from various anime, but did not attempt to replicate that anime, I am often enraptured. In fairness, Anon may not be inspired by PsychoPass or Ghost in the Shell at all, but I see similarities, and I think this movie does well to replicate the future tech expectations of such series fairly well, without going off the deep-end.

Anon is a jump into an, as far as I can tell, distant, unspecified future, where everyone has a neural implant, or a series of neural implants (the technology itself is not clear, in fact, given the lack of explanation at ALL, this may well be considered fantasy rather than sci-fi) that provide broad shots of information on everything one sets their eyes on, hears, and even thinks about. Through these devices, one can review videos of memories, share memories, receive nutrition details, review social profile details, carry out monetary exchanges, and yes, even advertisements have moved to this format, advertising on the sides of buildings without ever putting up billboards or large screens.

Some might call Anon a dystopian future, but I'm of the opinion that this particular future is very upfront about its problems, you've sacrificed anonymity for security and knowledge. Crime is at, apparently, an all-time low, save for petty criminal activity such as drug dealing and prostitution. Additionally, larger scale crime operations and ever-present debauchery have created an all-new sub-market in this eternally networked world, fittingly the focus of Anon. This flick isn't about the technology itself, but one particular person using one particular aspect of that technology.

Our hero is an officer of the law who spots a mysterious figure on his morning walk to work, a woman whose name is presented as "UNKNOWN - Error." Apparently, these figures aren't altogether unheard of, it's a practice to preserve anonymity, illegal, and difficult to prosecute on because of the nature of proceedings being reliant on cold hard evidence, in a world where anyone with the proper amount of talent can freely edit "cold hard evidence." UNKNOWN, is one of these people.

Our "antagonist" as she might be considered, is completely off the grid, no social networks, no public profile, and running a series of "background tasks" that delete any references to her physical appearances in the vast information banks of others. Ultimately, she'd probably get away with this, again, when you can freely edit and delete the digitally saved memories that could be used as evidence, what's the point in higher ups pursuing you? That is, she could lead her life with this level of anonymity forever, if not for the fact that she is running around, hacking her client's POVs (that's points of view) and then murdering them. When you take things to such extremes, you tend to draw attention.

Our hero, the humble detective faced with alcoholism, a tragic past, an addiction to his ex-wife, and the desire to drown his day-to-day in work, must now go undercover to get close to this hacker, but what he finds in her isn't at all what he expects. Anon may well be the sci-fi detective movie of the year, maybe even the decade—I'd have to do a lot more film watching I'm sure, but it beats out that Dinklage movie that surfaced last year (don't get me wrong, I love Peter Dinklage, and Rememory was certainly an excellent flick, but not the best). The only thing that really upsets me is that we don't get a deeper look at the technology itself, the movie never goes even slightly out of its way to point out how, where or when this technology is implemented, and while this is probably not a fault for most, I personally will fault it for it. So, Anon, for your shoddy performance as my ultimate technology fantasy (also for lacking any degree of teleportation technology, because that's what we really need) you get a 4.9 out of five. That's right, not a full five out of five, I will not be poetic about the majesty of your performances, I will not sleep my days away dreaming of your cyber eyes, 4.9 out of five, that's my final offer. Actually, one other flaw comes to mind. While the movie focuses on lechery as a plot device, I take some issue with the excessive number of sex scenes (there are only three, and the women featured within aren't unattractive, but it seems superfluous, especially when one particular encounter is played over and over) so, 4.8 out of five. Stop pressing your luck science fiction masterpiece!

I don't feel like what I've done in the past is an absolute necessity, typically I give a near-full plot summary of the entirety of the movie, but if one wanted such a thing, one would probably seek it on IMDB or Wikipedia, or would simply watch the movie. So...there it is, Anon is an excellent movie, with a few thrilling plot twists that one must watch to enjoy and understand.

movie review

About the Creator

Caleb Sherman

Twitch.tv streamer (Amnesia Duck), retro game enthusiast (don't ask me about Ataris though), lucky husband, and author.

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    Caleb ShermanWritten by Caleb Sherman

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