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Monday, September 21, 2015

THE ANOMALY -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

With its clever premise and solid execution, THE ANOMALY (2014) manages to conjure up all kinds of sci-fi goodness without a lavish budget. 

This is the third feature of director Noel Clarke, who also plays protagonist Ryan.  You may recognize him from his brief role as an anguished father at the beginning of STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, or, going farther back, as one of the troubled tweeners in KIDULTHOOD

Here, he plays a PTSD sufferer who blacks out during his stay at a rehab facility and then wakes up months later as someone else.  He still looks the same, but now he's a bad guy who just kidnapped a little boy after murdering his mother. 

When this condition persists--that is, when he keeps blacking out and waking up as another person in a totally different environment, sometimes a different continent, for ten minutes at a time--Ryan starts to take drastic action to find out what the heck's going on. 

Unfortunately, this action is met by guys with guns who either beat him up or try to kill him, or both, including a big, mean Russian pimp named Sergio (Michael Bisping) who doesn't appreciate Ryan running off with one of his best girls (Alexis Knapp of PITCH PERFECT as "Dana).

A nattily-dressed young man named Harkin Langham (Ian Somerhalder, "Lost", "Smallville") keeps popping up wherever Ryan goes, and he seems to know what's going on but isn't telling.  We eventually discover that both Langham and his scientist father, Dr. Langham, Sr. (Brian Cox, MANHUNTER, RED, X-MEN 2) are behind the whole complicated affair. 

The gradual unfolding of this intriguing plot is riveting, yielding a wealth of twists and turns before we finally reach the bottom of this sinister rabbit hole. 

Director Clarke fills the movie not only with lots of nice shoot-outs but also a succession of impressively choreographed MATRIX-style fights that use the old speed-up/slow-down effect very well.

The sci-fi elements are modest for the most part, with some of the snazzy computer hardware reminiscent of MINORITY REPORT.  The story is also MEMENTO-like in its ability to keep putting us into strange new situations that are as baffling to us as they are to our befuddled hero.

Noel Clarke gives an intense, energetic performance in the role while handling director's duties with aplomb.  Somerhalder is almost his equal as the enigmatic junior Langham, while Brian Cox lends his gravitas to a very brief but pivotal role. 

Alexis Knapp is quite fetching as Dana and we can understand Ryan's attraction to her as she helps him to rediscover his identity. Luke Hemsworth (INFINI) turns up as a hair-trigger government agent who doesn't believe Ryan's outlandish story even while he's waterboarding him aboard a jet that's about to get shot down.

The Blu-ray from Anchor Bay is in 2.35:1 widescreen with Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound and subtitles in English and Spanish.  There are no bonus features.

The nice thing about the increasingly twisted plot of THE ANOMALY is that it eventually does straighten itself out quite satisfactorily, which isn't always the case when writers work themselves into a corner they can't get out of.  Here, all the pieces fall neatly into place and it's fun watching the final picture come together. 

Buy it at

Street date: October 6, 2015
Stills shown are not taken from the Blu-ray


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