While ANONYMOUS isn't filmmaker Todd Verow's first feature
       (he earned some notice with his screen adaptation of Dennis Cooper's
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
       for Todd.

               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.
       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.

Rating:                       C
MPAA Rating:           None (explicit sexual content,
                                                                       nudity, language)
Running time:            82 mins.

              Viewed at the NewFest, Loews Cineplex Entertainment
                                              34th Street Theater
              NYC Premiere

      Screened with the 14-minute short HORSEYBOY, directed by
              Sam McConnell.

                                                © 2008 by C.E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.