Thom Yorke’s mesmerizing new Netflix film ‘Anima’ is a must-watch for Radiohead fans

Thom Yorke helped rewrite the rules of album releases in 2007 when his band, Radiohead, surprise-dropped “In Rainbows” online as a pay-what-you-want download.

More than a decade later, the avant-garde British rocker is looking to shake things up once more with Netflix film “Anima.” Streaming Thursday, the 12-minute short is a musical companion to his forthcoming solo album of the same name, out July 19. 

The stunning new clip is directed by filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson (“Phantom Thread,” “There Will Be Blood”), who collaborated with Radiohead on three music videos off their last album, 2016’s “A Moon Shaped Pool.” 

Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, left, co-stars in Netflix's "Anima" with girlfriend Dajana Roncione. (Photo: Courtesy of Netflix)

The film opens with Yorke on a crowded subway, where he blearily locks eyes with a striking young woman (Yorke’s real-life girlfriend, Italian actress Dajana Roncione). Dressed in muted shades of blue and grey, the train’s passengers begin robotically dancing in unison, before spilling out into the metro station.

Things get more surreal from there, as Yorke and the dancers scale a giant white wall while performing gravity-defying acrobatics, as he doggedly searches for the mystery woman in an effort to return her missing bag. He eventually wakes up in a dimly lit alley where the two tenderly reconnect, dancing through the hazy streets of a European city while night turns to morning. 

Thom Yorke flies, slides and crawls his way through the visually arresting "Anima," a choreography-heavy video featuring multiple dancers. (Photo: Courtesy of Netflix)

The video is scored by three songs from the nine-track “Anima,” Yorke’s first solo album since 2014’s “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.” “Not the News” and “Traffic,” both of which he first performed live in 2015, are unnerving yet hypnotic numbers that evoke the dense electronic music of Radiohead’s seminal 1997 album “OK Computer.” “Dawn Chorus,” meanwhile, is a lyrical meditation on second chances, with origins as far back as 2009, when Yorke called it one of his favorite songs he’d ever written. 

More: Radiohead release 18 hours of stolen music to raise money for environmental group

The album’s first half, like much of Yorke’s catalog, is predictably moody and fraught. The ambient “Last I Heard (…He Was Circling the Drain),” for instance, is what might happen if “Toy Story 4’s” existential breakout Forky discovered a loop pedal, with its repeated refrain of “Take it out with the trash.” Later songs “The Axe” and “Runwayaway” are still heady but considerably more upbeat, with woozy bass lines and skittering synths that veer closer to drum-and-bass music. 

After his criminally ignored work on last fall’s “Suspiria” soundtrack, it’s gratifying to see Yorke return in such a major way with “Anima,” which perfectly weds the rich visuals and unorthodox sound we’ve come to expect from the very best of Radiohead. 

Source: Read Full Article