Dec 13, 2015

Trailing Off: "Anesthesia" (2016)

Scene from Anesthesia
Welcome to the weekly column Trailing Off in which I take a look at a trailer from the past week and analyze its potential. This will be done using an obnoxious amount of analyzing and personal thoughts on the cast and crew as well as expectations. Coming every Sunday (it's called Trailing Off for a reason), I will attempt to highlight films ranging from new blockbusters to lesser known indies and give them their due. Partially to spread awareness, I do believe that there is an art to the sell and will do my best to highlight why these trailers matter or don't with approval (trove) or disapproval (trash). So please stop by, recommend some trailers, and I will see you next time.

Trailer in Discussion


Directed By: Tim Blake Nelson
Written By: Tim Blake Nelson
Starring: David Aaron Baker, Derrick Baskin, Jacqueline Braun

- Preamble -

There are some weeks where there aren't really any trailers worth talking about. Unfortunately as the year comes to an end, that largely means that there's not much to mine for Trailing Off without going to clearly reprehensible options. I don't know what value I get from dissecting low grade releases from the middle of March. There really is no value to that. However, I do think that when there's an interesting cast involved, I may be more willing to just go with it and give my honest opinions on the film. Such is the case with Anesthesia. I don't really know much about it, but I do know that there's people in this film that I generally like.
For instance, there's Kristen Stewart - who has had a banner year in 2015 with a lot of great work on her plate, specifically The Clouds of Sils Maria; a film that won her the equivalent of a French Oscar (and is the first American to achieve this). There's also Michael K. Williams and Mickey Sumner in the mix. The cast is pretty strong and promising. I will admit that unlike most of these trailers, I don't have the slightest idea of what I'm getting into here. It's a film whose vague title doesn't even hint at its genre or type. I assume it's a drama, but that's not very much help. Considering that I haven't seen any of the other films that Tim Blake Nelson has directed, that doesn't help either. If they're like the movies I know him from, they'll be comedies - but that doesn't seem likely.
Whatever the case may be, I have been hearing good things about this trailer and do think that it gives me hope that there's more to it. With that said, I like that there's an ensemble, which likely means that whoever I think is going to be the lead here is not actually going to be. The IMDb credits have it listed alphabetically, so that doesn't even help. I don't know what I'm getting into, so let's just watch it and see what comes of it.


- Dissection -

Having now seen the trailer, I don't exactly think that there's much else that is answered for me. It definitely is an ensemble drama that seems to be lead by Sam Waterston. That's fine enough. He's been doing great work for awhile now. I just wonder what else there will be to this, because it does look more like it will be a Crash scenario where we'll have several interlocking stories that amount to one common theme. I am not entirely sure how that will work, but it definitely seems both a little too ambitious and maybe even laughable in some ways. The theme after all is loneliness and isolation. How is this film going to achieve that goal in a timely and powerful way? Also, what does anesthesia even mean in this context? I like that this mystery is saved for the film itself.
The trailer is well constructed regardless on how vague that I feel its approach is. I don't think that the music helps, but the rest shows a clear vision of what I assume the movie is about, and I assume it will go through its motions in the way presented. Provided that this trailer ends up being honest, I do think that it gets a lot of the points across in a way that forces you to pay attention and notice what it's about. It gives you enough to become interested without giving too much away. Of course, I don't even know what would be given away if it was, because the plot seems vague as it is.
But I am not doing Trailing Off solely to figure out how well a film spoils its contents. It's all about selling a movie to the general public. Does this do a good job of making me want to watch it? Yes it does. It may not have moved high on my list, but it's a competent and striking trailer in that it does its job and nothing else. This isn't a bad thing, but it doesn't win any bonus points either. This is just a good trailer that does a good job of selling whatever it is Anesthesia wants to be.


- One Sentence Sell - 

A large cast of actors star in a drama following an analysis on the side effects of loneliness.


- Trove or Trash -
TROVE

Again, it's mostly about how well it sells itself, and that's good enough. It may not be a great trailer or one that makes it a must see, but it does a good job of telling someone who doesn't know anything (like myself) about what it is. I'm not entirely sold, but it's still keeping me intrigued.

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