Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Anomalisa (2015, Charlie Kaufman)

I wrote this comment on Facebook a bit ago:

Just got back a little bit ago from seeing the new  Charlie Kaufman​ stop-motion animated movie Anomalisa​. Being someone who loves more or less all of Kaufman's movies, I can't say I was disappointed in it, in that it has the unusual, unexpected story line and characters that engage me. But at the same time, it is a bit more subtle and less-is-more in many ways, compared to say SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK​ or Eternal Sunshine.

The mindset of the lead character is very important in the perspective. Which perspective often is what I get from his movies. What we see are from 1 perspective, but then another perspective is revealed eventually, or at least Kaufman may want us to consider. I'm giving it 3.5 stars, although I may plan to pick it up on DVD and see if my feeling changes, as many of his others have as well.

I guess to add to this, I really like the whole mystery/mysterious element throughout this movie, which like I said, isn't unusual for Kaufman, but maybe it was done a bit differently.


Other than the main character Michael Stone and Lisa, every character/person has the same voice and same face, I just came to realize the whole perspective thing.  I suppose also with the voice being done by a male, even though that voice being identical and portraying both genders, I wonder if the lead is gay or bisexual, or if the world he exists in, seeing people not by gender, was relevant. Now later, when we meet Lisa, his sexual orientation is shown, at least more directly, to a point.

But like when seeing the Hotel manager in his dream, I got a Scifi/Twilight Zone/The Outer Limits kind of vibe, and then when we see part of his face come off. Also earlier, when he hears Lisa's voice through part of his face.

It's haunting. The whole society seems like a Prisoner kind of environment in some ways.

Another thing is how when the lead arrives in Cincinnati, every one wants to be his friend. They go out of their way to make extended small talk with him, It got to the point of being annoying actually, and I'm not fully clear on that tool, but maybe with seeing it again a few times, it may be more clear to me.

And the love scene, while was nice and created good intimate atmosphere, went on a little too long. This film is 90 minutes, and I would estimate the love scene lasted at least 10 minutes, maybe more.

I guess I initially feel this is an original and new movie for Kaufman to make, and working with Duke Johnson was potentially a new good relationship to have. But amongst his body of work, off the bat I would not rank it as high his others at this point. I suppose part of that is how outstanding his other movies are.

But at the same time, this was a movie that I recall seeing, took quite awhile to make. His last work was Synecdoche, NY in 2008. I hope we see something else from him before 2022, but who knows. I think especially since he began directing with this and Synecdoche, he may have become even more of a perfectionist, because he can and isn't concerned about being prolific. But the Charlie Kaufman fan in me wants as much as possible from the guy.