A disappointment on many levels, Anamorph showed promise, but ends up as a dull, derivative whodunit where we find out "whodunit" early on and simply forget about him!
If you've never heard of this movie before, don't fret: this is one of those movies that got "limited theatrical release". I never got that. Why would you only want to show your movie in a few cities? How do these people expect to make their budgets back? A lot of my favorite movies end up this way (A Scanner Darkly, Boondock Saints, etc.), but it doesn't make any sense why. With Anamorph, I think I understand. It gives the illusion that a film is more artsy and high-brow if you release it in certain cities, thus making it appear more enjoyable.
Willem Dafoe is as charismatic (some might say "creepy") as ever as Detective Stan Aubray, a straight-arrow cop with a sinister past that seems to be catching up with him. Five years back, a serial killer ran rampant all over New York, leaving grisly remains. This case became known as the Uncle Eddie case. I don't really know why: nobody ever explains who Uncle Eddie is. But I digress. Now, new victims are being dispatched to look like anamorphic works of art.
Anamorphic, in simple terms, is a work of art made to look one way, that can be interpreted as something else from a different angle/perspective. The best example I can come up with is this activity book I got for Easter with a page of what looked like straight lines, but upon laying the paper flat and looking up at it, it actually read HAPPY EASTER. Now imagine that, but with arms and heads and s***. Is this the work of a copycat killer, or is Uncle Eddie back to his old tricks?
It's an interesting idea, but some scenes drag on FOREVER and EVER, sometimes leading absolutely nowhere. You can almost feel the writer peeking at a copy of the Se7en script as he typed this, as many scenes have the dark, grimy feel that Fincher directed 15 years ago. The supporting cast is actually pretty good. Scott Speedman isn't as bland as usual, and even manages to pull off a cop pretty believably. Peter Stormare is in the movie (YAY!) but he isn't given a lot to do except try to sell Aubray chairs (BOOOOO!).
When the movie isn't being gross, the cinematography is really good. The colors match the situation, and it helps the city feel more hollow and lifeless than they really are. But one thing I cannot stand is an abrupt ending, especially when a movie is SO SLOW. It's all so anti-climactic, just like Transformers 2 (thought I'd give a shout-out in celebration of it's huge Razzie haul).
Bottom line: some movies should stay limited release. If you're going to take the time to make a crappy movie, let the whole world see it, so that you can get some real criticism, and IMPROVE upon it, like a real artist. At least, that's my perspective.
And Boondock Saints rocked . . . haters.