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Review: Amnesiac

The film’s concern for the reclamation of identity is less important than the dull approximation of The Others’s stark haunted-house atmospherics.

Photo: Xlrator Media

“Who am I?” So asks the titular amnesiac, played by Wes Bentley, from Michael Polish’s new film. It’s an apt question, given the memory loss he’s suffered in the wake of a car crash—not to mention that he’s woken up in a house he doesn’t remember, with a wife (Kate Bosworth) he doesn’t know. But the film’s concern for his reclamation of identity is less important here than the dull approximation of The Others’s stark haunted-house atmospherics. In the key of the more monotonous Misery, Bosworth’s character is eventually revealed as the caretaker from hell, even though this revelation is telegraphed from the get-go, as she’s repeatedly bathed in the sort of celestial light that can only be a sign of irony. And whereas Kathy Bates played Misery’s villain with a genuine glint of charismatic madness, Bosworth is all icy reserve, hitting the same beat over and over like the minimal pianos overwhelming the soundtrack, to the point where the audience becomes indifferent to her character’s supposed low-key menace. Amnesiac is uninterested in the inner-workings of her psyche, just as it remains utterly indifferent to the mind of the man who may or may not be her husband. The film almost immediately gives up attempting to unravel his real identity so as to focus on his attempts to escape the house, resorting to repetitive scenes of him being stopped short from fleeing at the last second and re-imprisoned. It’s a spectacle of dreary genre machinations tracking toward the obligatory quasi-shocking big-twist finale. That neither the amnesiac nor his supposed wife are ever given character names becomes the most telling detail of all, revealing them both to be nothing more than ciphers of a humdrum plot. When the man finally learns the truth, he still seems to have no idea who he is—and neither do we.

Cast: Kate Bosworth, Wes Bentley, Olivia Rose Keegan, Shashawnee Hall, Richard Riehle, Patrick Bauchau, Mia Barron Director: Michael Polish Screenwriter: Mike Le, Amy Kolquist Distributor: XLrator Media Running Time: 90 min Rating: NR Year: 2015 Buy: Video

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