Turn it up loud, and you will genuinely enjoy Netflix short film Anima, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Thom Yorke of Radiohead
Get seated, strap in, place your favorite headphones on and press play on Paul Thomas Anderson’s Netflix short film Anima. The experience is mainly conceptual and feels like a rather long music video. If you are a fan of Thom Yorke of Radiohead, then naturally you will be keen to check out this 15-minute feature. At the beginning of Anima, I foolishly left the volume on my headphones low, but then I saw the recommendation in the description and started again. If you are not down for the symbolic intimation, then you can enjoy this short film for the music alone.
Anima begins on public transportation, with everyone asleep in an eerie set-up. Eventually, everyone comes to life, and they start making various body movements for the rest of the short film, moving through mind-bending scenes that provoke the audience to think outside the box and wonder what the Netflix short film means. Thom Yorke is the focal point, chasing after a small, metal-looking briefcase — he appears wary of the dancing crowd in front of him while trying to keep a grasp of the briefcase that he randomly found on the subway.
Did I understand the messages? Well, I have my theory, which is very likely to be wrong. I sense that Anima is symbolic of society today. Our generation and the ones before us produce a lot of energy in their careers, lifestyles and social media, but often become less engaged with the real outside world, confined to the metropolitan way of moving. The public transport shows everyone asleep, symbolic that we do not engage. Once everyone wakes up in the Netflix short film, they move with impressive choreography, moving forward together to represent that we walk through the same places but do not interact. For a large segment of Anima, Thom Yorke is trying to pursue his briefcase but seems slightly distracted by a woman, possibly representing that he’s eager for intimacy, that human connection.
I enjoyed the 15-minute experience, but for what it is worth, Netflix short film Anima is hardly a memorable piece of work, but it can be appreciated for what it is and if you are a fan of Thom Yorke, then you are on to a winner.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.