In a lot of ways the subject of memory is the perfect medium for film. Memory defines us as people and gives us our sense of who we are and how we regard those around us. Taking this away from someone for whatever reason is traumatic. A good film maker can use this to weave an intriguing and suspenseful story. One of the more recent films to tackle the subject is Amnesiac which is just out on DVD.
A man (Wes Bentley) wakes up in bed after apparently being in a car accident. He has no memory of what happened and his recollection of the woman (Kate Bosworth) who says that she is his wife. The house they are in is sparsely furnished and they are alone. The man is disorientated and starts to have flashbacks to the accident and the sight of a young girl in the car with him. As he starts to get stronger he thinks that things are not the way they first appeared. Is this actually his wife?
This is a reasonably enjoyable film. It is organized in such a way so that the audience is drip fed information at the same time as the man. With our prior knowledge of how a film narrative is constructed, certain assumptions are made with regard to the situation. The film makers use this to subtly alter your understanding of what is happening.
The film is really a two hander with the man and the woman (they are never named) on screen together for the most part of the film. It is these interactions that drive the story forward. Wes Bentley is good as the man struggling to find his identity in the fog of his mind. His confusion is written all over his face. As the nominal narrator of the story it is his lack of understanding that the audience just has to follow.
Kate Bosworth is the star though. She plays the part of the wife to perfection. She is detached to the point of with an undercurrent of malice. Dressed throughout if period sixties clothing and hair style only adds to the eeriness of the film.
The look of the film mirrors the character of the woman. The house where they live is a large, slightly run down relic that seems to be straight out of another time period. Even in the bright of the day, there is a hint of something out-of-place.
As you would expect all is not the way it seems and there are a couple of twists and turns in the film. Rather than detracting from enjoyment of the film it makes the experience even better. That isn’t to say that this is a perfect film. Far from it. There are flaws and it can be a little bit too convoluted for his own good. There is a fine line between suspense and over the top nonsense. The film comes close a few times but just manages to stay on the right side.
Overall, a suspenseful and interesting genre piece.