EIFF 2014 – The Anomaly

Jul 3, 2014 | Posted by in Edi Int Film Festival, Movies

Noel Clarke both stars in and directs The Anomaly, a sci-fi action thriller that follows Ryan (Clarke) who wakes up in the back of a van with no memory of how he got there and only has a few minutes to figure it out.

The narrative of the film is disjointed as we learn pieces of the overall story along with Ryan who is missing days or weeks at a time when he blacks out. As mysteries go it’s teased really nicely and the answers make logical sense in the context of the film. It’s completely confusing at first but as the story progresses it starts to make more and more sense.

Noel Clarke does a good job as Ryan, his innate likeability helps the audience empathise with him in this situation and he plays the appropriate levels of confused confidence throughout. Seeing him do his Brian Cox impression is pretty funny and I’m not convinced that it works but for the most part he plays the heroic role capably. The aforementioned Brian Cox isn’t in the film much which is a shame as more of his character might have made things more interesting.

Ryan mainly interacts with Harkin Langham (Ian Somerhalder) and Dana (Alexis Knapp) who serve as the primary antagonist and ally/love interest respectively. I really liked Somerhalder’s character, he was an effortlessly charming sort of villain who comes across as complex even though he really isn’t. When it boils down to it he’s just an angry man with daddy issues but he serves his purpose well enough.

Similarly Dana is somewhat one dimensional, she is a prostitute who has a kind heart and a sympathetic back story to help the audience relate to her but she fits her function in the plot very well. Her encounter with Ryan gives her hope again and she feels compelled to help him after that. Knapp and Clarke have next to no chemistry and the love story is somewhat shoehorned in but I’ve seen much worse.

It doesn’t quite convince me that it’s a high budget blockbuster like many have claimed. It does have a lot of cheap looking CGI and clear budget saving interior sets so all of that lifted me out of the film somewhat. That being said I was entertained enough for it not really to matter too much. The fight scenes were very well choreographed and it’s impressive to know that they reshot the whole fight scene a number of times until they got it right in a single take. They don’t look all that choreographed which makes them feel fresh but Clarke relies a bit too much on slow motion but hey, at least we’re spared the rapid cutting that so infuriates many of us.

Overall this is a decent enough sci-fi movie with a well paced and interesting story that reveals itself gradually as the story progresses. The characters aren’t especially well fleshed out and the film doesn’t hide the low budget very well but I did really enjoy it.