Director(s): Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson
Cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan, David Thewlis (VOICES)
Release Date: Available on Blu-ray & DVD June 7, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Michael Stone – husband, father and noted author – travels to Cincinnati to speak at a customer service conference. But once he’s separated from the routine of his daily life, a chance encounter helps him to realize just what, and whom, he’s been missing. Love, laughter and loneliness align in this stop-motion work of art featuring the voices of David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Noonan.
‘Anomalisa’ follows respected author and family man Michael (Thewlis) on an overnight business trip where he has been asked to speak at a conference relating to the content of his praised novel. With only a quick stay in Cincinnati at a luxurious hotel, he begins to settle in for a quiet night before a mere chance encounter with a mysterious woman (Leigh) throws everything he had thought he’d believed into upheaval and forces him to reconsider what it is he truly wants before he misses the brief window the world seems to have allotted him in order to make his decision.
Directed by Charlie Kaufman (writer of Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Duke Johnson (TV’s Community) from a script Charlie Kaufman additionally wrote (which if I’m not mistaken was based upon his own play initially written under a pseudonym) and the two do a remarkable job at the helm of ‘Anomalisa’ guiding this masterpiece with obvious passion. The film also owes a tremendous amount of credit to the three individuals who comprise the voice cast which are David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Noonan, and while Thewlis and Leigh certainly deliver highly capable performances, Noonan is without question the true star of the film and even as a fan of his work for many years, I was utterly blown away with his portrayal of every single character’s voice in the film aside from those provided by the other two respective stars.
‘Anomalisa’ is an absolutely outstanding film and a true beauty to behold both in the impressive accomplishment of the unique stop motion animation it utilizes, as well as the films ability to be so emotionally powerful and painfully real, delivering a truly heartfelt and gorgeous animated masterpiece for adults that is also surprisingly humorous. Constantly mesmerizing and unforgivably human, while also never afraid to have fun with itself at the right moments, ‘Anomalisa’ is a refreshingly unique and simply phenomenal piece of filmmaking that is wondrously guided by directors Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson and escalated to perfection courtesy of the outstanding voice performances, particularly that of Tom Noonan who has truly outdone himself here. ‘Anomalisa’ is without question one of the best films of 2015 and a definite must see for fans of outstanding cinema and Kaufman’s unique personal touch.
Overall, ‘Anomalisa’ is a remarkable piece of filmmaking and without a doubt one of the finest films of last year. Director’s Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson have constructed a true animated masterpiece here for adults that is enthralling, powerful and at times quite hilarious. ‘Anomalisa’ certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea as a result of its unique nature and the always offbeat touch of Kaufman’s work, although I can’t possibly recommend it highly enough to anyone who appreciates quality filmmaking at its finest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Anomalisa’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks wonderful and delivers a sharp, detailed and gorgeous presentation from start to finish that captures every ripple and miniscule detail of the stop motion animation flawlessly and holds up in every possible way, with no notable faults to be found within. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation that should easily satisfy even many of the pickiest individuals.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds wonderful and serves as a magnificent compliment to this emotionally powerful and real film, utilizing all five available channels on occasion in order to allow some of the calmly aggressive score to seep throughout the various speakers, along with general crowd ambience and a few other tidbits, while always making certain any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously never becomes distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Anomalisa’ includes a few Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of brining this breathtaking film to life and including interviews/comments with the cast and crew as well as a look inside the recording sessions. The included Featurettes are: ‘None of Them Are You: Crafting Anomalisa’ (running approximately 30 minutes in length), ‘Intimacy in Miniature’ (running approximately 9 minutes), and ‘The Sound of Unease’ (approximately 6 minutes).