March 29, 2016

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"...a long, drawn out affair..."


By John Noonan
Year: 2014
Rating: M
Director: Michael Polish

Wes Bentley, Kate Bosworth, Patrick Bachau

Distributor: Accent
Released: March 23, 2016
Running Time: 82 minutes
Worth: 1.5 discs

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…a long, drawn out affair…

An unnamed man (Wes Bentley) wakes up after a car accident to find himself being cared for by a woman (Kate Bosworth) that he has no memory of. Claiming to be his wife, the woman nurses him in her palatial house, but keeps him on a short leash, restricting his access to certain rooms. As his strength returns, the man begins to suspect that the woman is not all that she claims to be. Remembering that a young girl was in the car, he tries to piece together the mystery.

Amnesiac is the kind of film to which the term “Hitchcockian” could be safely applied. We have a mystery to solve, an even more mysterious blonde in the form of Kate Bosworth, and a dark haired, steely jawed hero in Wes Bentley. This could have been something. Instead, what we have struggles to entice or encourage continued watching.

The problem comes largely from the pacing. Amnesiac is a long, drawn out affair; it’s so slow in reaching its conclusion that an almost meditative calm envelopes the audience, lulling them into a form of apathy. Bosworth’s constant whispering of her lines does nothing to enliven proceedings, and Bentley flip flops between tired and confused. The woman is a deliberate enigma upon which the film centres its entire story, but aside from flashes of violence – she really dislikes her postman – there’s little to encourage us wanting to crack her code. Her affectation of reciting pub quiz trivia is equally annoying. When all explanations are finally given – and bolster yourself for a huge info dump in its dying minutes – Amnesiac proves itself to be nothing more than anaemic.


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