Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Andrew Niccol|
|Written by||Andrew Niccol|
|Music by||Christophe Beck|
|Edited by||Álex Rodríguez|
|Distributed by||Altitude Film Distribution (United Kingdom)|
Anon is a 2018 British-American science fiction thriller film written and directed by Andrew Niccol, and financed by Sky Cinema Original Films. The film stars Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried, with Colm Feore, Mark O'Brien, Sonya Walger, Joe Pingue, and Iddo Goldberg appearing in supporting roles. Set in a futuristic world where privacy and anonymity no longer exist, the plot follows a troubled detective (Owen) who comes across a young woman (Seyfried) who has evaded the government's transparency system. The film was released internationally as a "Netflix Original" on the streaming service, from 4 May 2018, whilst in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the film was released in cinemas by Altitude Film Distribution and through on-demand by Sky Cinema on 11 May 2018.
In the near future, humanity lives in a technologically advanced, albeit dystopian society. The government requires that everyone receive an ocular implant that records everything they see. The implant simultaneously provides an augmented-reality heads-up display to the user for anybody they may see. Information ranging from basic social media biography information to private information for higher-level law enforcement to access.
Sal Friedland (Owen) is a detective with the metropolitan police force. With the ocular implants and the ability for law enforcement to recall a visual record of the events in question, investigations into crimes amount to the assigned detectives reviewing the video and assessing whether the alleged perpetrator is innocent or guilty.
One day Sal crosses paths with a girl (Seyfried) who appears to trigger a glitch in his ocular implant, as no data about her is retrieved. When he reviews his own record of his encounter with her, she is noticeably absent from the recording. Later at work, Sal is handed several homicide cases which all seem to be related due to the fact that the victim’s own visual records of their deaths are each replaced with the record of the killer, showing his or her point of view and thus not revealing their identity.
The detectives eventually uncover that all the victims hired someone with the expertise to delete pieces of their visual records that they felt were either humiliating or incriminating. This “Anon” goes on to erase these unwanted records from these clients' visual records once their business is complete. Determining that the mysterious girl Sal encountered earlier clearly has the abilities to manipulate the system in such a way, she becomes their primary suspect. Sal goes undercover, creating a false history as a stockbroker who engages in a brief affair with a prostitute. Using this as the pretext for her services, he makes contact with the girl hoping to have his encounter with the prostitute deleted. With his team on standby in the adjacent apartment, the initial plan to apprehend her fails when she successfully covers her tracks. Throughout this process, Sal and the girl begin to develop a personal relationship which culminates in passionate lovemaking. During the second sting attempt made later, the girl discovered Sal's true identity and flees. One of Sal’s colleagues is killed in the process, seemingly by her.
The girl seemingly harasses Sal due to the betrayal, tormenting him with his worst memories, and causing him to see a raging fire in the building. He then pulls his gun and fires a shot, when the hacker suddenly removes the illusion, Sal realizes he has shot wildly at an empty corridor, scaring his neighbor. He’s confronted by his superiors after his neighbor turns up dead, and they don't accept his explanation. This results in his taking a mandatory break from duty.
Despite the mandatory break, Sal breaks his house arrest and goes after the girl hacker. After tracking her down to her apartment, Sal admits that she’s being investigated for multiple murders. The girl reveals that she already knows because she’s being framed by another hacker with a similar skillset. She shows Sal her video record the night of the second sting operation in which his coworker was killed, proving that she’s innocent. After showing her records, she flees again.
Believing Sal has become personally involved, his superiors remove him from the investigation and suspend him from active duty. While suspended, the killer attempts to murder Sal in his apartment, revealing himself to be one of the technical experts from the police department, Cyrus (O’Brien). During the course of a physical altercation between Cyrus and the girl, Sal draws his weapon, but realizes that Cyrus is seeing what he sees in real-time. In order to defeat this advantage, Sal is forced to fire blindly in the direction of Cyrus and the girl, successfully wounding Cyrus. After following Cyrus and the girl into the hallway, Sal takes another blind shot, this time fatally wounding Cyrus.
The girl walks away, later revealing to Sal that she’s able to bypass the vast intelligence network by disseminating her code throughout everyone else in the network, rendering her untraceable.
- Clive Owen as Sal Frieland
- Amanda Seyfried as The Girl
- Colm Feore as Detective Charles Gattis
- Mark O'Brien as Cyrus Frear
- Sonya Walger as Kristen
- Joe Pingue as Lester Hagen
- Iddo Goldberg as Joseph Kenik
- Sebastian Pigott as Detective Vardy
- Conrad Coates as Detective Fuchs
- Mayko Nguyen as Detective Dyer
- Ethan Tavares as Salvador Jr.
- Alyson Bath as Krystal
On 28 January 2016, Clive Owen was cast in the film to play the role of a detective in a world without privacy. On 8 March 2016, Amanda Seyfried came on board to star in the film, playing a woman with no digital footprint who is invisible to the police.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 37% based on 49 reviews, and an average rating of 5.25/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Lacking enough depth to fulfill its evident ambitions or enough excitement to work as a sci-fi action thriller, Anon lives down to its title in the most glumly predictable ways." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 54 out of 100, based on 11 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
On RogerEbert.com, Nick Allen gave the film 2.5 stars out of 4, saying that as Niccol's film lays out its sci-fi rules, "Anon can be as much as fun as listening to someone explain every single rule of a board game, when all you want is to just start playing." Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film 2 stars out of 5, saying: "The impact of the action is lost because we can't be sure of the status of what appears to be happening, and there is something a little bit boring about the conundrum." Stephen Dalton of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Niccol's paranoid anxieties about the totalitarian dangers of cyberspace feel oddly glib and dated, light on thrills or narrative logic." Blake Goble of Consequence of Sound gave the film a "B" grade, saying: "While the film's final thesis is a Facebook post with typos at best (delete your accounts, and so on), Niccol is still terrific when he's breaking down rules, questioning protocol, and testing new ideas." James Dyer of Empire gave the film 3 stars out of 5, saying: "With a story that serves mainly as delivery mechanism for its message this is no [The] Truman Show or Gattaca, but comfortably more coherent than In Time and buoyed by its chilling relevance."
- "ANON (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 1 May 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
- Shepherd, Jack (25 January 2018). "Sky to start making its own movies". The Independent. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
- McDonald, Andrew (25 January 2018). "Sky moves into original films in latest content push". Digital TV Europe. Informa. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
- Admin (8 May 2018). "Sky Cinema Original Film 'ANON' gets a brand new clip". The Arts Shelf. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
- Travis, Ben (25 January 2018). "Sky Confirms Plans to Create and Release Original Films". Empire. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
- Barraclough, Leo (28 January 2016). "Clive Owen Boards Andrew Niccol's Sci-fi Thriller 'Anon'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
- Rosser, Michael (8 March 2016). "Amanda Seyfried joins Andrew Niccol sci-fi 'Anon' with Clive Owen". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
- CS (4 September 2016). "Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried Photos from the Anon Set". ComingSoon.net. Mandatory. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
- Quijano, Bianca (9 September 2016). "Filmmakers find UTSC "perfect for production"". University of Toronto Scarborough. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- "Anon (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
- "Anon Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
- Allen, Nick (5 May 2018). "Anon". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- Bradshaw, Peter (4 May 2018). "Anon review – Andrew Niccol's killer-hacker thriller suffers from identity theft". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
- Dalton, Stephen (3 May 2018). "'Anon': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
- Goble, Blake (6 May 2018). "Film Review: Anon Sends a Detective Into a Waking Nightmare in the Neo-Near Future". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
- Dyer, James (8 May 2018). "Anon Review". Empire. Retrieved 11 January 2019.