While ANONYMOUS isn't filmmaker Todd Verow's first feature
(he earned some notice with his screen adaptation of Dennis Cooper's
novel FRISK), there's something of the feel of a debut film to this
character study of a man bored by his life. Todd (played by Verow) is
in a five-year relationship with hunky painter John (Dustin Schell) but
their schedules are such that they've become like passing ships instead
of passionate lovers. As shown in a flashback, the couple found one
another when Todd answered an ad for a roommate and John insisted
on videotaping the interview which quickly devolved into a seduction.
Now that they've been together for awhile, boredom has set in, at least
It probably doesn't help that he works nights as a manager at a
movie theater. Alone in his office, he surfs the Internet for porn sites
and chat rooms or he sneaks out to cruise men's rooms in the
neighborhood, all in search of anonymous sexual encounters. One
evening John decides to surprise Todd at work and discovers him in
a compromising position, leading to violence and a break up. Alone
with nowhere to live, Todd spirals out of control, hitting bottom and
being forced to make a decision about his future.
The underlying themes of the film are fascinating ones and they
might have been turned into a more intriguing and captivating movie
in the hands of another filmmaker. Verow, however, allows his movie
to meander. There are extraneous characters who really don't add
much to the texture of the piece, and his insistence on using dreams
imagery muddles the story.
This may be, in part, a result of the filmmaker's breakneck pace in
making his movies. A champion of the digital video (DV) format, Verow
has made over a dozen features in the last eight years. ANONYMOUS
is the first in which he undertakes the lead, which may be why it has
that first-time movie maker feel. While nudity in sexual situations is
understandable, there are so many extraneous shots of Verow in
various stages of undress (i.e., an unnecessary striptease in his office,
taking off his shirt while walking across a bridge) that it almost
could serve as a drinking game for the DVD release. Of course, you'll
be smashed within the first couple of minutes. I know that some may
argue that he is utilizing his body this way because the character has
a sexual compulsion and his body is his tool of trade, as it were. But it
remains overkill, and dampens the overall result.
MPAA Rating: None (explicit sexual content,
Running time: 82 mins.
Viewed at the NewFest, Loews Cineplex Entertainment
34th Street Theater
Screened with the 14-minute short HORSEYBOY, directed by
© 2008 by C.E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.