ANONYMOUS ANIMALS (a.k.a. Les Animaux Anonymes) **** France 2020 Dir: Baptiste Rouveure. 64 mins
In a quiet rural setting in France a role reversal has taken place. Humans are hunted, captured, transported and slaughtered by humanoid creatures with animal heads. A stag surveys his land holding a shotgun just as the hunt begins, a bull and a horse take in the recent delivery of fresh live humans at their abattoir and a terrier finds a wounded human chained to a tree. He takes him in, tends to his wounds and feeds him up only to try his luck at the local illegal human fight ring.
I really wanted to give this movie the full 5 star rating as I truly loved it and have wanted something like this to come along ever since I read and subsequently watched George Orwells ANIMAL FARM. I know there are a few similar movies out there now but this is the first one I have come across in a while. I adored the concept and the visuals are absolutely stunning. There is no dialogue at all and it uses a combination of silence, animal noises and bursts of music to convey some suitably creepy moments. The only thing that did let this down for me was the fact that at times the lighting was so gloomy I couldn’t see what was going on. Also during all the chase and fight scenes they opted for masses of shaky cam so once again you really couldn’t see what was going on. With the lack of dialogue to back those moments up I felt this did let it down quite a lot. I still stand by my 4 star rating though as I really did love the rest of it.
The animal heads looked really authentic and moved really well, the noises they made were true to species. Even though there is a lot of cruelty shown I will always remain on the side of the animals as no amount of role reversal can truly tell the extent of humans brutality and cruelty towards animals but this does go some way to trying to balance it out a bit. If they had a bigger budget I feel they would have had more scope for some gorier outcomes but what they managed was acceptable enough. I am no vegan or animal rights protester but I have experience in the animal welfare sector and felt this went some way to satiate my anger towards the human race. ANONYMOUS ANIMALS is arty, different, beautiful and a fantastic watch, just remember the next time you are out in the countryside keep your wits about you and watch out for those equines they are tricksy characters!!!
Review by Sarah Budd