I had three reasons to check Anamorph out. First the description at IMDB sounded fascinating, “A psychological thriller based on the concept of anamorphosis, a painting technique that manipulates the laws of perspective to create two competing images on a single canvas.” Second Willem Dafoe is always a treat, albeit sometimes a sour one at that. Finally I noticed Clea DuVall in the Carnivàle series, but has seen her in other movies, so I was looking forward for more of her.
Sadly I was disappointed in all of these areas. First, somehow when I read the movie’s plot I missed the “thriller” part and focused on the anamorphosis section. But this is a harsh psychological thriller, which is not my favorite genre. Particularly when torture is involved, think of Silence of the Lambs category, but different execution.
The attempt at making an anamorph film was not successful. An occasional filter to make the movie sepia tone, a look or partial overexposure does not make it anamorph. The way the crimes under investigation were committed did include anamorph effects, but that was the topic and not the style of the movie. And even those were not universally anamorph; they involved other artistic techniques. Nevertheless killings in my eyes are still killings, no matter how artfully done. Others might enjoy the detective story, but that part was not special.
Dafoe was boring and probably bored too. I blame it in Henry Miller who directed and co-wrote the movie. It should have been a half an hour short or better yet an art exhibition only. DuVall did not have enough on-screen scenes to make a big enough impression. And even in those she was undergoing treatment for being a victim and at the same time being prepped up as the next victim. She had no opportunity to go beyond these set limits.
To sum it up, the movie was not just slow, had misguided art segments, underused thespian talents, botched storyline, but also depressive. What a waste of talent and opportunity.