Writer-director A.R. Hilton makes his feature-length debut with the Anonymous Killers. The film comes as a response to Hilton’s dealings with the justice system in the United States and his time behind bars in “one of New York’s most notorious prisons.” He spent 18 years locked up and honed his writing skills during that time, writing stories and screenplays.
Once out, he wrote a book based on his experiences and created a short film, The Death Of A Prince. He hopes his work will speak to the hypocrisy of justice in this country and show how less fortunate people are often forced to compromise their values and commit crimes, even violent ones. That is quite ambitious for any independent feature, much less a debut. So, is Hilton successful?
“…everyone votes on whether that person should live or die.”
Curtis (Kevin Glikmann) awakens tied to a chair, whereabouts unknown. As the professor scans the room, he discovers that a few others are in the same predicament; there’s Romero (Dominic Pace), Marlene (Natassia Halabi), Amadu (Patrick Caberty), and Lucia (Gabriela Lopez). None of them are certain why they are here and wish to get out.
Then their host, of sorts, Emaramus (Nathanyael Grey), steps in and explains what is going on here. There are buttons underneath each hand; one is a vote for death, the other, life. Each person will present their case, and everyone votes on whether that person should live or die. The twist here is that all of them, except for maybe, the professor, wantonly takes lives. Romero is a low-level mobster seeking retribution on the Russian mafia for killing his friends. Marlene was raped as a teen, and when her fiance found out about this, his attitude towards her became flippant, like she’s some used napkin to be discarded. Devastated, she begins killing evil men left and right.
Amadu was a child soldier, saved from that life by a man named Ghost. Ghost taught him how to kill, and he sought revenge on the man who killed his sister and ruined his life. He proved adept at this and became a hitman. Lucia’s mother was an illegal immigrant and took a job as a housekeeper to a very affluent white couple. The husband came onto her, and in a fit of jealousy and spite, the wife set her up for theft. This devastated the young Lucia, who, years later, by chance, was afforded revenge as a dominatrix. Who among them deserves to live? All of them? None of them? How did society allow such a fate to befall these lawful (at the start) citizens?
"…hones in on societal factors that led everyone to kill that first time."