Twitter Plot Summary: Ryan finds himself waking up at various points throughout his life, with less than 10 minutes each time to figure out what’s going on.
Noel Clarke is Ryan, a man who wakes up in the back of a van that is making its way through a future London. He has no memory of how he got there, and realises that 6 months have passed since his last memory. It soon transpires that he moves forward in time every 9 minutes and 47 seconds, and he has to figure out exactly why the bad guys are trying to kill him, and indeed if he is one of those bad guys himself. So begins The Anomaly.
Once again this is a Noel Clarke film that draws heavy influence from other science fiction films, yet manages to branch off and do its own thing from a recognisable concept. This is one part Source Code, one part JJ Abram’s interpretation of Earth/London in his Star Trek films. The influence should come as no surprise given that Clarke played a London-based Starfleet officer at the beginning of Star Trek Into Darkness.
Other than Noel Clarke who stars and directs in this feature, he is joined by Ian Somerhalder who fans of Lost will recognise in spite of the prominent bow tie he sports throughout. There is also an all too brief appearance by Brian Cox (no, not the professor). In fact, Cox is such a minimal presence that you question the reason for him being cast. His supreme talent is wasted, and in the context of the story the role could have been filled by anyone. Perhaps more of his performance was left on the cutting room floor for pacing reasons? In any case, it’s a shame he didn’t have a larger role to play.
It finds itself being saved by earnest performances and decent action choreography, elevating otherwise mundane sequences to something that has a bit of flair and razzle dazzle. What this amounts to in reality is an excuse for a fight to break out in most of the near-10 minute memory jumps. This keeps things ticking along quite nicely, but it does mean things become a little stagnant and repetitive in places. For those not well versed in the language of time travel and displacement in science fiction stories, you might find yourself struggling to keep up with all the twists and turns – especially when Ryan keeps jumping forward in time and has a different job or hairstyle. Indeed, a different life each time.
Meanwhile there are critiques of US policy regarding the treatment of prisoners weaved throughout (water boarding features quite prominently), as well as some fun ideas on what future technology will look like – the see-through mobile phones are an interesting concept.
The Anomaly is an enjoyable science fiction thriller with a solid premise, one that in the grand tradition of sci-fi allows the filmmakers to discuss modern themes in a future context. The budget might not match that of an American film but there’s enough here to get the message across and still look good whilst doing so.