Monday, 18 April 2011

Anamorph - review

Anamorph is a serial killer movie from 2007 which stars Willem Dafoe as a troubled cop called Stan, whose experience in dealing with a string of murders attributed to ‘Uncle Eddie’ comes back to haunt him when a number of killings are committed in the form of weird tableaux.

The plot is complicated, which is not in itself a bad thing – on the contrary. However, while I watched, I was uneasily aware that I was missing lots of complicated sub-texts, and the elaborations of the story in the end become rather overwhelming. It may seem lazy of me, but I like to have a few more signposts about what exactly is going on. And I didn’t get enough in Anamorph. Perhaps I should have paid more attention, and possibly I would have done had I seen the film in the cinema rather than at home on TV. But perhaps the film should have made me care more about its characters.

This sense of an opportunity missed is a shame, because there are definitely some strong features to the story. I was rather taken with a couple of anagrams that play a part in the plot. However, Stan is a misery, and the grim ending felt unsatisfactory.

The fact is that the world is full of serial killer stories. To stand out, a film or book about serial killers has to pack a real punch that derives its power from something more than gore. Anamorph, for all its potential, never quite delivers.

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - You are so right! There are so many serial-killer stories out that if one is going to create one that sticks in the mind without being overly graphic, there has to be something about it that's different. It's so often been done before...