Directed by: Brad Champagne
Written by: Brad Champagne, Brady C. Nelson
Genre: Science Fiction / Thriller
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The story of "Anamnesis" combines science fiction with steam/cyberpunk influences in more ways than at first realized, and ways I won't reveal in this review. Based on the idea of memory theft and transfer, one might instantly think of films like "Johnny Mnemonic" or even "Inception" but they would be off-base. Although taking place in the slight future, I'm pretty sure, this film revolves around one man who has pulled off an amazing feat. The capture of memories. Usually forcefully I might add. As a business, it feels like our character has cornered the market. However, his main drive for the "memory device" is a need to rewrite his own past. Unbeknownst to him, doing such a thing reveals some devastating side effects. Want to know more? Watch this film. It's available to the public.
You may find yourself asking if this is a film for teenagers or comic book fans in general? Not at all, it's for anyone who still has a sense of wonder and curiosity about the future of modern technology. Although the main prop, the memory device, has some clear cut steampunk influences; the idea is that it's based in science and not fantasy. Adding scientific treasure to our imaginations and exploring if we truly learn about ourselves through others. Or maybe in this case, the other way around. How much is our life experience worth? And what harm can be done by embedding the memories of others into oneself. These are the true themes and questions of "Anamnesis" from my point of view.
Interestingly enough, the process of memory capture and transfer is not a digital one in this movie. Brad Champagne decides to use a more organic approach via a tube of black liquid, dripped into the eyes. This is an excellent, unique approach. Especially visually, as a film prop. There comes a time when you must simply concede to the actual ridiculousness of the setup, and simply enjoy it for what it is. We all know that if something like this ever did become a reality, an eyedropper probably wouldn't do the trick - yet for visual style, it fits right into the mood of the movie. There's nothing cooler than watching someones memories dripping down the side of ones face. It's also a little unsettling.
As a low budget production, I didn't expect a lot from the vast majority of the camera work. I did expect an average quality device to record with, but really wasn't a fan of the off-the-tripod, shaky shooting style. Had this film contained more locked off shots, and less "I can hold a camera in my hand, run around and make a movie" shots, I would have scored this title much higher than I did. Especially when I stopped to consider the acting is actually pretty decent. Low budget or not, it doesn't cost much to purchase and use a tripod. Shaky, blurring footage - combined with an average camera, always screams independent. Had the same care been taken that went into procuring the main prop, production wise, this title would have been a totally excellent film. It's not my place to judge a project for being low budget one. But as a viewer watching a movie - I simply don't care about such things. I either like the way it plays or I don't. It's that simple. Luckily, the acting, concept and overall pre-post process more than makes up for the lack of funds and equipment. Easily making this a solid short film.
It's not every day we come across titles that are decent and instantly free for the public to consume. This is one of them, and is a great diversion when one is needed. I would have no problem watching this film again with some friends. It would be really cool to see what these guys could do with some real money behind a production. Really cool indeed.