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‘Anima’ Review: Paul Thomas Anderson’s Dream You Never Want to Wake up From

Anima: Paul Thomas Anderson and Thom Yorke's dream ballad

Acclaimed filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke team up for ‘Anima’ — a breathtaking Netflix one-reeler you simply cannot miss.

Let me be the first to admit that we here at WTTS are just not that into dance/electronic music. However, Thome Yorke and Paul Thomas Anderson‘s beautiful nightmare, a Netflix one-reeler entitled “Anima” has made a believer in me.

First, let’s begin with the definition of “one-reeler” for those casual watchers of TV/Film. Popular in the era of silent films, a “one-reeler” is a movie of around 12-minutes in length, which takes up one reel.

Including credits, “Anima” is listed on Netflix as a 15-minute experimental film, whose description states clearly that the movie is “best played loud.” Having enjoyed it from the comfort of my own home, with two kids sleeping soundly in their beds, I watched and listened at a relatively low-volume and still managed to enjoy this dreamscape.

It all starts on a train filled with sleeping patrons wearing a dark shade of gray, location unknown. Our hero, played by Thom Yorke, fights his sleep for as long as he could but finally, after briefly making eye contact with a beautiful woman (played by Dajana Roncione), appears to give in.

This launches us into the film’s first number “Not The News,” the last song in Yorke’s accompanying album. This choreographed sleep dance shows passengers tossing and turning as the train approaches its stop.

As seemingly the only one able to break out of this trance, however, when the train finally comes to a full stop everyone exits except for our hero. His character sees that the beautiful woman he had made eye contact with earlier has left behind a briefcase.

At this point, our hero seems to be fully awake and trying desperately to return the briefcase. However, he is stopped by a turnstile that only seems to block him. This time, it is he who loses the briefcase.

After finally being able to cross the turnstile, our hero searches desperately for the briefcase (or is it the woman?) and finds it laying on a slab of cement. This launches us into the second number “Traffic,” the first song in Yorke’s accompanying album.


There’s no other way to describe this sequence other than it is flat out dope. Here, our hero faces another obstacle in retrieving the briefcase. The cement slab tilts, causing our hero to lose his balance and fall out of frame.

This takes us to the third and final act which is played out to “Dawn Chorus,” the 6th song in Yorke’s accompanying album. Here, our hero reunites with the beautiful woman, briefcase be damned.

As the sun begins to rise, they must make their way back to the train. And now sitting face to face, our hero and the beautiful woman can truly see each other.

With the sun now fully shining on our hero’s face, he is finally able to sleep.

“Anima” doesn’t outwardly resemble any of Paul Thomas Anderson’s feature films. However, despite its being short in length, it does carry a big punch and tears at your heartstrings just like any other PTA epic.


If you’re looking for a visually stunning film with incredible music, look no further.

Having grown up in Washington Heights, a small Dominican neighborhood just one mile away from Yankee Stadium, Manny is a life-long Yankees fan. He began pursuing his passion for writing about baseball in March 2018 when he co-founded a small baseball media company called Welcome to THE SHOW. Manny is also a contributor at Call to the Pen. Follow Manny on twitter @MannyGo3.

1 comment on “‘Anima’ Review: Paul Thomas Anderson’s Dream You Never Want to Wake up From

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