Anesthesia – A philosophical drama about how we are all connected
Written and directed by: Tim Blake Nelson
Actor turned writer/director Tim Blake Nelson (“O”) is back with “Anesthesia”, a heavily philosophical piece that focuses on connections. Specifically the connections between all of us, and how one event can affect the lives of many. The dialogue driven drama features a strong ensemble cast doing some of their best work. That is especially true of Kristen Stewart. She surprised me with her powerful performance in “Camp X-Ray”, and she does so again here with probably the best role of her career.
Let’s get to the plot though. Walter (Waterson) is a Columbia university professor who is widely liked by students and faculty. One night, he is brutally attacked and left in a pool of his own blood. A man (Corey Stoll) saves him, and the rest of the film centers on several people’s stories in the week leading up to the violent attack. The cast is a good one. Gretchen Mol, Michael K. Williams, and K. Todd Freeman all give wonderful performances. It is Kristen Stewart’s turn as Sophie (one of Walter’s students) is the one that really shines. I enjoyed the whole film, but it was her scenes where I was really transfixed.
Throughout the film, all of the character’s stories intertwine. This is at the heart of what it seems Nelson was trying to do, which is start a internal, philosophical conversation about how our actions can and do affect others. At times, the dialogue will be a bit heavy for some. Some of the words used are the stuff Scrabble player dreams are made of. I think this was Nelson’s way of showing how intelligent his characters were, and it works even if it hurts the viewer/story connection a bit at times.
I really enjoyed “Anesthesia”, and if you enjoy powerful, dialogue filled dramas you certainly will like it too. It features great acting and a thought-provoking story. I highly recommend it.
Trailer not available