The Anomaly (2014)
The Anomaly (2014)
Director: Noel Clarke
Cast: Noel Clarke, Ian Somerhalder, Brian Cox
Synopsis: An ex-soldier named Ryan Reeve is taken captive by the “Anomaly” organization where he learns that he only has 9:47 minutes/seconds to find out why they want him dead.
British actor Noel Clarke (Storage 24, Star Trek Into Darkness) once again works behind the camera as director of The Anomaly, although he leaves the writing duties of this SF thriller to novice feature writer Simon Lewis, who comes up with a plot which is perhaps a little too complex for his level of experience. There’s the seed of a good idea in its story of mind control, but its trick of having its lead character having to unravel the mystery in ten-minute chunks is derivative of bigger, better-known movies such as Source Code and Edge of Tomorrow. Clarke also takes the lead, but unfortunately lacks the screen presence and charisma to succeed as a tough guy leading man.
He plays Ryan Reeve, a soldier suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, who awakens to find himself in the back of a truck with a kidnapped boy named Alex (Art Parkinson). Reeve has no idea how he got there, and undergoes a disjointed succession of episodes in which he awakens days apart to find himself in a variety of situations. Eventually, he discovers that he’s the subject of a mind control experiment conducted by disgraced scientist Francis Langham (Brian Cox – Braveheart) and his son, Harkin (Ian Somerhalder), and he regains consciousness every time the satellite which controls the receiver implanted in his neck is temporarily knocked out by a solar flare. With the help of a prostitute (Alexis Knapp), Ryan attempts to turn the tables on his captors.
The Anomaly is an enjoyable enough blend of SF and action, but its hampered by a low budget which makes its occasional attempts at a futuristic world almost as embarrassingly unconvincing as its half-hearted attempts to persuade us the action is taking place in New York when it was clearly filmed in Britain. The variable-speed fight scenes (there are many) have received a fair amount of stick, but I quite enjoyed them. It makes a refreshing change to be able to see each blow being struck, instead of being subjected to a confusing mass of rapidly-edited close-ups which merely give the impression of combat without revealing any details. Mind you, considering the number of fights which Clarke’s character is forced to participate in, it’s a minor miracle he can walk, let alone sprint from scene to scene. It’s mindless entertainment – and it could have been a whole lot better if more thought had been given to the key concept and how it could best be explained to the audience – but at least its reasonably enjoyable mindless entertainment.
(Reviewed 26th June 2015)