Review – EIFF 2014 – The Anomaly


The Anomaly

Dir. Noel Clarke

Like most viewers, there will be some actors, actresses, directors that we just don’t warm to. Admittedly, Noel Clarke for me is someone that can just rub me up the wrong way. But I thought that I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt. The UK doesn’t produce enough Sci-fi genre features. Obviously budgets for this genre usually demand a grander financial backing, but if you’re smart and have a good story with performances to match, much can be forgiven. So I was prepared to be surprised and I was. Surprised why this film was deemed worthy of being included in a festival programme.

Ryan, Noel Clarke, wakes up rather confuzzled in the back of an armoured van unaware how or why he’s there. In the back of the van he finds a young boy chained and hooded. The boy in deep fear has been kidnapped by armed men and witnessing his mother being shot dead. Ryan is soon on the rescue front, trying to escape their captors. All Ryan can remember is that he’s a patient at a hospital being treated for post-traumatic stress. When his captors catch up, Ryan discovers he knows some nifty fighting skills. Exhibited via a horribly poor copy cat editing style from the new Sherlock Holmes TV series, of slow motion, sped up, slow moving, zoom in, slow motion oh please no my poor eyes. It’s revealed that Ryan, to his horror, is one of the kidnappers then blacks out. Ryan awakes at ad-hoc moments to find himself in some questionable situations and soon comes to realise he is not in charge of his own body and whoever is in charge has some serious grand scale plans. In these waking moments Ryan strives to discover what is going on and strives to undo the evil plotting at play, hampered by the fact that the person controlling his body has an accomplice always nearby, Harkin Langam, played by Ian Somerhalder, whose acting capacity is creepily akin to a ventriloquist’s dummy from a horror film. The fight off sets the tone for what lies ahead, a series of woeful performances from the Jason Priestly school of acting complimented by horrific expositional dialogue that is like bad poetry being forcibly shat into your ears.

In defence of the Anomaly, there is a pretty good idea behind the film, and fairly Memento-esque. But unlike Memento, it neither carries the acting prowess, visual aesthetics, intelligence or emotional core that could have made this potentially a good film. Instead it has been spurned into a teenage fan boy’s idea of playing the good hearted, kick ass style hero who must save the boy, the girl, the world and himself. The Anomaly is over the top as it is over indulgent that makes me feel no different to how I perceived Noel Clarke as an actor or director.

Chris Aitken
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