‘The Anomaly’ is a British science fiction that is noteworthy mostly name recognition for the director, Noel Clarke. Even then, Mr. Clark’s credits of best-known to science-fiction fans, particularly those who appreciate the longest-running science fiction show on television,’ Doctor Who. He portrayed Mickey, the boyfriend of Rose Tyler (Billy Piper), the first companion after the 2005 reboot of the series. I’ve been a fan of his work as he’s moved forward such a coveted role. As is the case with many actors they seek to expand their means of artistic expression by moving behind the camera. This film is Mr. Clark’s third time as director but his first time forming a picture in the science fiction genre. His initial two movies, ‘Adulthood’ and ‘1-2-3-4’ work both exceptionally interesting works demonstrative of a young man great potential. Unfortunately Mr. Clark stumbled when returning to the genre that made him recognizable jewelry stars for fan base. For this film he teamed up with a nascent screenwriter, Simon Lewis, who marks his feature-length script debut with this movie. As with anyone undertaking a significant change in career there is obviously a learning curve to contend with. By the front by need to state that this movie does not live up to its potential. Mr. Clark’s previous two films people felt that the harsh realities faced by a young man growing up in an urban setting. Very deeply moving character driven stories presented by a cast of well-trained and talented performance. In this moved to science-fiction is pair of imaginative people who are charged with creating a dystopic futuristic world. At this point in their career this was apparently biting off more than they can chew at this time.
As a general rule of thumb is usually best to avoid over complicating a new endeavor, eschewing extraneous plot devices so as to better concentrate on the character development specifically their reaction to the various situations that might arise in the story. Mr. Clark appears to have forgotten this by throwing the audience a premise dependent upon the morass of exacting details. Clarke divides his attention to both sides of the camera work they also starring as the protagonist, Ryan. He is a young man with PTSD resulting from his recent military service, currently residing at a rehabilitation facility. He is plagued with blackouts as if that isn’t bad enough this is where the only specific complications are introduced. When he awakens from his loss of consciousness inspirations of time passed and retaining no memories of what occurred. When we first encounter Ryan Reeve he awakens in the back of the van and on the back wall the young boy is chained. Ryan finds out his name is Alex (Art Parkinson). As soon as the band stopped helps the boys escape, running for their lives as some men exit the truck. They wind up in a graveyard where Ryan discovers he has amazing martial arts acumen. Is running take inventory of what he’s carrying the boy realizes that he was the man who just shot his mother. At this point Ryan screams black satin awakens in a well appointed office goal appointed office or private study. Why notices a large corkboard off to one side containing what appears to be elaborate pans some operation including a picture of the board he had just met. There he encounters a man Harkin Langham (Ian Somerhalder), and after just a crumpled exposition the process repeats with Ryan waking up in the middle of some strange situation on the rare what is happened during testing of an inordinate amount of time. As it turns out Ryan is only himself nine minutes and 47 seconds after that he relinquishes control of himself as it is taken over by someone else. Harkin did mention that the ‘reboot’ takes that amount of time.
The story is told in increments of five minutes and 47 seconds to the credit of Mr. Clark as a director, the amount of screen time that actually passes with that interval. Wanted to suppress notes, clock buffed himself up for most of his own stunts which is obvious since Clarke is heavily featured during the choreography of the fight sequences. Also, as often as possible Clarke, as a director, manages to contrive situations where Clarke, the actor, as to remove his clothing or at least a shirt. Practically the entire first half act consists this kind of scene; regain consciousness in some unusual situation, receiving most all additional information and get into a fight. The audience can at least determine that this is somewhat in the future by the floating boards and florescent trimmed guns. Oddly the phones almost always transparent, this seems to be a trend futuristic sci-fi lately. I have to admit the computer interfaces are amazing, built along the lines preceded ‘Minority Report’. All this makes for a visually interesting film is definitely a case of more sizzle than stake.
Since Ryan is the point of view character the audience only has the less than 10 minutes per segment for the story to move forward. During a second viewing I decided to approach this film as it was one of the old action serials that movie theaters showed during Saturday matinees. Once I said that association in my mind I found it much easier to accept the staggered flow of the plot. The conspiracy that Ryan is trapped and slowly comes to the surface as he discovers Harkin Langham and his father, Dr. Langham (Brian Cox) have a family business consisting of the largest biotech firm in the world. The elder Langham wants to extend his dwindling life by taking control of young body, Ryan. Unfortunately every so often to system reboots, a process that takes Zach nine minutes 47 seconds, giving Ryan a slice of his own consciousness. Making matters worse is the government is after the group known as The Anomaly’. It turns out, as we finally get an opportunity to learn, once the manufacture of a virus with horrible mutagenic effects. The group plans to form a demonstration of a small population and then black male governments for billions. Agent Elkin (Luke Hemsworth) is the agent charged with getting information from him though sometimes Ryan is the victim and others he seems to be an observer. This is the only thing I find confusing the better of the most of the audience. Considering Luke Hemsworth is the older brother of actors portraying main characters in two of the most successful in the two franchises, ‘The Marvel Cinematic Universe and ‘The Hunger Games’, I doubt that he will be the most talkative during the next family reunion.
Mr. Clark does have talent as a director as seen by his previous two films I certainly look forward to his upcoming accomplishments. I truly believe that the reason why this film is fired as it did was because he was trying to expand himself new directions. At the to do stories concerning disenfranchised youth considering his background in science fiction story such as the one here was a natural progression. At this stage in his career it is time to do the experimentation, to try new styles and explore different genres. As with any experiment some are inevitably going to fizzle. What matters is that it doesn’t deter his need for artistic expression. This is an interesting idea that was to have constrained by the time limit in the premise be properly explored.