(Germany/US/Canada - 2018)
Written and directed by Andrew Niccol. Cast: Clive Owen, Amanda Seyfried, Colm Feore, Mark O'Brien, Sonya Walger, Joe Pingue, Iddo Goldberg, Charlie Ebbs, Damon Runyan, Sara Mitich, Doug Murray, Jean Michel Le Gal, Douglas Stolfi. (Unrated, 100 mins)
The Netflix pickup ANON finds filmmaker Andrew Niccol back in the realm of high-concept sci-fi that briefly established him as the Next Big Thing in the 1990s. He's best known for writing and directing 1997's GATTACA and he received an Oscar nomination for scripting 1998's THE TRUMAN SHOW. Since then, Niccol's career has been on an erratic trajectory, splitting time between further explorations in sci-fi like the 2002 Al Pacino flop S1M0NE and 2011's terrible IN TIME, and political films like 2005's LORD OF WAR and 2015's barely-released drone treatise GOOD KILL, which was overshadowed by the more successful sleeper hit EYE IN THE SKY. He also tried his hand at big-budget YA sci-fi with 2013's THE HOST, but 20 years on, Niccol still hasn't matched the one-two punch of GATTACA and THE TRUMAN SHOW. His latest film ANON explores themes previously seen in his earlier sci-fi films but with middling and repetitive results. The production design is superb and it's a very expensive-looking film, but after a promising start, Niccol's script devolves into a string of rote cliches and tired genre tropes, becoming the kind of film that doesn't even bother following its own internal logic.