Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 14, 2015)
A thriller in the Hitchcock vein, 2015ís Amnesiac introduces us to a man (Wes Bentley) who suffers substantial memory loss after a serious car accident. When he wakes up, a woman (Kate Bosworth) claims to be his wife and takes him home to care for him.
This seemingly simple path becomes more complex, though. The man bears no memories of the woman and eventually comes to suspect she isnít who she claims to be. The man struggles to cope with this situation and the drama that pops up along the way.
Though I initially referred to Amnesiac as a film in the Hitchcock wannabe camp, in many ways it more resembles 1990ís Misery. Both feature mentally unstable women who imprison injured men in their homes.
The big difference is that Misery offered an interesting tale while Amnesiac delivers nothing more than 84 minutes of tedium. Right off the bat, I find myself irked by the movieís choice not to give the characters names. This seems like a silly conceit that serves no obvious purpose. Yeah, I get that it tries to play into the manís lack of memory, but it fails. Instead, it smacks of pretension and becomes an off-putting way to launch the film.
Amnesiac abounds with other artsy quirks that ensure it stays tough to embrace. The characters never offer any personality or anything to make them interesting. The movie dollops out background info at a snailís pace, so by the time we learn the minor slivers it throws our way, we donít care Ė the tale taxes our patience to the point where we mentally bail long before it ends.
A thriller without any tension or drama is one that fails at its core. Iím fine with a movie that gives us a slow, deliberate pace, but I want to feel like Iím on a journey somewhere.
That never occurs with Amnesiac. The film plods at such a slow rate that the viewer fears itíll never go anywhere Ė and those worries largely come true. Sure, some drama emerges along the way, but again, it takes so long to get there that the audience becomes unlikely to care.
Neither Bosworth nor Bentley can do much with their parts. Both are talented enough actors, but when saddled with such flat roles, they get stuck in a corner.
Bosworth suffers the most. The woman becomes little more than a repository for pointless trivia non sequitors and random violence. Bosworth plays the role with chilly diffidence and doesnít make the character anything vaguely engaging.
Even at a mere 84 minutes, Amnesiac feels long. Too slow and too pointless, it becomes a poor thriller.