Anomalisa Blu-ray Review

Anomalisa

It’s funny how the little things become more important when you know who you are.

Like voices.

Now a voice may not seem very important when you’re thinking about what it is you like about someone, but it’s always been a big deal to me.

As a guy, I realised early on in life that you better like the sound of your girl’s voice – because you’re going to be hearing it a lot.

But this goes double for Michael Stone, the protagonist in Charlie Kauffman’s latest quirky adventure Anomalisa.

Now Michael is a man who lives with a peculiar condition.

Actually, he’s got a couple of bizarre things going on in his head, but the one that’s driving him to distraction is how everyone talks to him in the same voice.

Men, women, children and even old folk – they all sound the same and even look the same to Michael.

Is he having a mental breakdown?

Maybe, but even if you were of sane mind and body – and no-one’s ever hinted to me that I am – I don’t think it’d take too long to slip into full nutter mode if you only saw the same face and heard the same voice for the rest of your days.

Of course, judging by the madness of recent events, I’d suggest at least 52% of us are already teetering on the brink of insanity.

Though I suspect the real number’s much, much higher.

But then Michael meets Lisa, and her voice is an oasis of wondrous sound in a desert of monotonous white noise.

I first heard of Anomalisa at last year’s London Film Festival, where it was the surprise film.

Of course, it’s no surprise that a press pass doesn’t get you a ticket to the hottest show in town, but I did hear great things about this new Kauffman tale.

So I was a little bit underwhelmed when I finally got around to watching Anomalisa this month.

The premise is quite brilliant and, having lived in London for something like fifteen years now, I can relate to the idea of people’s faces and voices blurring together into one homogeneous mass.

But Anomalisa doesn’t really follow this brilliant idea through to completion for me.

There is no catharsis for Michael, subtly voiced by David Thewlis, and no answers are provided for the strange things that afflict him or his face, which literally falls off at times.

The sort of animation is very interesting, and I’m sure there’s a brilliant story behind this, but I was a little disappointed that the story of Anomalisa wasn’t quite as brilliant as the way it looks.

Still, at least I don’t have to listen to this for the rest of my days.

Jonathan Campbell

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July 2016
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