Stars: Katie Marsh, Demi Baumann, Alex Damiano, Teona Dolnikova | Written and Directed by Shane Ryan
Based on the true life murder of a young girl by a neighborhood acquaintance, My Name is A by Anonymous is a rather brutal and depressing affair to watch and it is those traits that make this an intensely moving experience.
Split into three chapters, the film’s non linear narrative moves between the films main players. There’s Alyssa (Katie Marsh) her friend or cohort (Demi Baumann) whose days are spent antagonising each other and delving into the world of self harm. Credited as The Angst, (Alex Damiano) sexually abused and self harming girl who also has eating disorders – who stores the result of her purging in jars, maybe in an attempt to control that which she cannot? Finally the The Performer (Teona Dolnikova), who is a pop star wannabe and someone who is also being abused.
It is hard for many to watch films with such evocative and morose subjects but if you look past what seems a very simple story of four girls/women with similar struggles which end in tragedy, there is a very deep and interesting undercurrent.
Is this just a liner and very sad story of teenage angst, loneliness and brutality shared over many characters? Or given that only a couple of them actually have names, are they all the same person? A shattered scope of one girls personality. This gives the film an interesting edge over other handheld, “reality” style films – a style which, sometimes, can come across as ‘low budget’ or ’cheap’ but in this instance adds an eerie tone of honesty and foreboding. As a viewer, if I’m this close to the protagonists whilst they are playing, eating or tormenting each other, then how close am I going to be when everything culminates in such a horrific crime?
Even though there is much here to praise, some of the scenes can feel overly long and drawn out without much payoff, much like the opening scenes or the music video segment, but the acting is so naturalistic and well played that sometimes it feels more like watching a YouTube video of kids messing about, which makes watching this film a more uneasy, real and gut-wrenching experience.
Recommended to those who like to be challenged by their movies.