Anyone who knows me or has read most of my reviews here already knows that I’m an animation buff. I take it and get it anywhere I can, even if it’s a dark film like Anomalisa. Presented in a stop-motion animation style, it’s a deep and twisted movie that perfectly captures the mental issues that can arise from being alone in a mundane existence, while splicing in a little bit of black humor in between.
Since my colleague Carlos has reviewed the film back when it was in theaters, I’ll just give my take on it and the special features the Blu-ray offers. I absolutely agree with everything Carlos mentioned in his review about this one. It’s a slow burn that picks up at spots, but it’s still amazing to see Michael Stone (David Thewlis) and his descent into depression and how he copes with it as best he can. The film does this by making everyone look the same and even having the same voice (Tom Noonan), even if it’s a child or a woman. So it’s a breath of fresh air for both the viewer and Michael when he finally sees and hears someone different with a young lady named Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Of course he falls head over heels for her and the two hit things off fairly well. But as anyone knows with these kinds of movies, happiness rarely lasts and comes with a hefty price that both of them will have to pay.
While it did seem to drag a little for the first twenty-some minutes, I did enjoy watching the craziness unfold. The animation and details comes in nicely in high definition, and the audio is spot on as well. The special features here come in the form of three documentaries. The first goes into the origin and production of the movie, from it’s humble start as a play to becoming a stop-motion experience. The next one deals with the infamous sex scene in the film and the challenges of making it believable, from the animation itself to the actors providing the vocals. It’s one of those extras that makes you feel awkward watching it, but you can’t look away either. The last extra is a short piece on the sound design and efforts that went into capturing the actors and sound effects for the movie that help bring it to life.
If you love animation like I do or just want to watch something beautiful yet strange, Anomalisa is a good place to start. It’s a dark and weird slow burn filled with a small but excellent cast with some nice extras rounding out the package that makes this anomaly worth investigating.