Akan Satayev's newest film, renamed from "Hacker" to "Anonymous", would probably be a better film if as writer and director, he remembered the first basic principle of film-making: create characters that people care about.


"Anonymous" is a fairly stylish, somewhat topical examination of three main characters with whom you never form any kind of connection. While they aren't completely flat, they are lifeless and illogical. They are like that half-filled balloon that doesn't have enough air to rise higher than two feet from the floor, but has just enough air to avoid just laying on the floor.


The story revolves around Alex (Callan McAuliffe - "Flipped" and "I Am Four") who as a teenager, become quite adept at computer operations and is planning on getting some sort of IT degree to substantiate himself. However, when his immigrant parents lose their jobs and are threatened with the loss of their home, he decides to enter the fast moving world of electronic crime.

He moves from fraudulant purchases of expensive luxury watches and jewelry to the more flexible and higher risk world of fake credit card manufacturing. He earns enough money to not only pay off his parents debts, but also afford himself a jet-setters lifestyle.


He joins ranks with a couple of other high-tech thieves in Sye (Daniel Eric Gold) and Kira (Lorraine Nicholson) who present more advanced skill sets for even bigger bucks. What he doesn't know is that Kira is on the end of a short leash being held by the feds who are after an on-line crime syndicate called DarkWeb.


Crime films work when the schemes are explained in relative depth. It's a way of drawing you into the crime so that you, the moviewatcher, can get that much sought "Aha!" moment. "The Sting" was easily one of the best examples of pulling the audience into the crime. The old MIssion: Impossible television series set the standard for high tech crimes. Satayev should have taken notes.


One after the other, the trio pulls caper after caper without rhyme nor reason; they just do it. No wonder some of the capers fail. Flash and dash is suppose to wow the audience while logic and probability get left at the door. Oh, look, they're arriving at a caper in a Rolls Royce! There is absolutely no logical explanation for methods that makes sense - even to a novice hacker.


Perhaps if Satayev had done some research into how crimes were actually committed, or for that matter, how to develop realistic characters, his film would have been better. Alas, this film is, itself the result of a hack.


"Anonymous" comes up short on just about every level. From the uninteresting characters to the unexplained improbably cyber crimes they commit.   -- GEOFF BURTON