Noah Thompson’s review published on Letterboxd:
DON'T LEAVE ME HIGH
DON'T LEAVE ME DRY
I can't claim myself to be a giant fan of Radiohead and/or Thom Yorke, but I do enjoy me some "Creep", "Karma Police", and pretty much everything from The Bends. (Which no joke was my favorite album cover for a while just for the sole reason of it looking like Woody from Toy Story having an orgasm.) When it was announced a few days ago that Paul Thomas Anderson and Yorke were going to collaborate on a "one-reeler" for Netflix, it sounded like a fun time. And a fun time it was. In just fifteen minutes, ANIMA is the most aesthetically pleasing film of the year so far from both a visual and auditory perspective, and packs in a surprising amount of emotional substance.
The best way I can describe the visual palette and mood is like it's an abstract, musical rendition of 1984. People that move more like machines than people, all dressed in the same long grey clothing, and the rules of physics breaking all around them. It's also a love story because of course it is. Thom Yorke has an magnetism with his lazy eye and awkward stature. He's pretty near perfect to be the lead of a story seemingly about the lack of diversity and free expression. You could argue this is a "We live in a society" piece, but it's never annoyingly such. The music on its own is damn good and I look forward to later tonight listening to the album this was made for. As per the Radiohead tradition, this is meant to be viewed just a little too loud and when you're tripping balls. (If I do watch it again, which is very likely, I'll be cranking up the volume.)
There's something really intriguing to me with the fact that Paul Thomas Anderson is able to wow with his direction and make a short film with better reviews from both critics and fans than most of the feature-length movies coming out this year. ANIMA isn't a masterwork, but it's a proven example of the phrase "Less is more." Most of the PTA or Thom Yorke stans have probably seen this already, but if you haven't, I strongly recommend it. Will very likely remain the best way you could spend fifteen minutes of free time this summer. If only our current dystopia was this hypnotic. It's certainly just as mind-bending, at least.