Anamorph Review
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Five years ago, a brutal serial killer known as “Uncle Eddie” terrorized New York City—and Detective Stan Aubray (Willem Dafoe) led the investigation. Though the case finally ended with the killer’s death, it’s haunted Stan ever since.

But then another gruesome murder brings the memories flooding back. Stan is called in to help Carl Uffner (Scott Speedman), a young hotshot detective, investigate what appears to be a copycat crime—a disturbing murder, in which the victim is manipulated into a deranged art exhibit. And after the first, others soon follow—each more horrifying than the last—and Carl starts asking questions that Stan isn’t prepared to answer.

Anamorph (taken from the word “anamorphosis,” or the artistic method of forcing a picture’s composition to add a second image, depending on the viewer’s perspective) is a disturbing yet somewhat dry thriller that builds at a deliberate pace. It’s dark and heavy and suspenseful—with almost a classic noir feel. But I still found myself struggling to keep up.

Unlike many mainstream thrillers, which show too much and give the audience hints that are way too obvious, Anamorph seems determined to leave its audience in the dark—even after the movie ends. There are some things that you’ll be able to figure out along the way—some connections that you’ll be able to make—but much of it is so obscure that, after it’s all over, you’ll be left with just a fuzzy and somewhat incomplete picture of what it all means.

While the story is hard to figure out, though, the main character definitely isn’t. Though Dafoe is a skilful actor—especially in a role as dark and gritty as this one—his character is just too cliché and predictable to be believable (or thrilling, for that matter). He’s a tough-guy cop who, deep down, is haunted by mistakes he made in the past. He’s rough and reclusive and obsessive-compulsive—and he drinks to survive. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ve read enough books and seen enough movies to know exactly how a character like that will act in any situation. He’s definitely not going to trust some young punk. He’s definitely not going to volunteer any information. And if he digs up any leads, he’s going to go it alone. He’s the typical pulp-fiction kind of detective—and that predictability makes him rather dull.

Anamorph is definitely a dark and different thriller—one that’s both disturbing and artistic. But, unfortunately, it just doesn’t come together as well as I would have liked. The concept is smart and creative, but the execution falls short.

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