AMNESIAC tells the story of a man (Wes Bentley) who wakes up in bed after an accident, suffering from memory loss. He begins to suspect that his wife (Kate Bosworth) may not be his real wife and soon finds himself a prisoner in the house.
In the film AMNESIAC, a man wakes up, after being in a comatose state for some time, following an automobile accident. He is clueless to where he is, but is greeted by a gentle, but odd woman, when he awakes. The woman, explains to the man that she is his wife, although he cannot remember her, or even, how they met. The woman tries to jog his memory, by telling him details about things they did or said, in the years prior to the crash, even preparing his favorite meal - pot roast. But even still, he can recall very little. Eventually however, curiosity gets the best of the man, who eventually becomes suspicious of the details surrounding his life, before and after the crash. And as small details begin to resurface little by little, things just do not add up. At this point the man begins to doubt the validity of the details relayed to him by his wife, or even the fact that the two of them, are even married. To the man, something far sinister seems to be lying beneath the woman's rather calm exterior. And after a dead body, as well as some other things are found hidden in the cellar of the house, his suspicions appear to ring true.
AMNESIAC begins, by showing, a couple, and who appears to be their teenage daughter, driving their 1960s model car down a curvy road. During this, there seems to be some confusion between the couple, shortly before they are hit. Following the crash, that we assume did not end well for all, we are brought to a room within an old house. Here we find a man, who has just awaken from a coma. Seems normal right? Initially, the man(whom is unnamed, as is the woman who tends to him), suffers the typical symptoms of someone with amnesia. He can't remember much. But soon, things begin to resurface little by little, with the help of the woman, presumed to be his wife. However, in thriller movie, fashion, the more and more the man, remembers, the more and more confused about it all, he becomes. Slowly, all becomes not so well, as things begin to expose themselves, when it comes to the wife, and soon, her level of caring, shifts to a level of obsession and motive.
As far as scenario goes, AMNESIAC seems, here, to be borrowing a lot from Stephen King's MISERY, because, minus a few alterations, the general plot idea, and setup, are nearly identical in nature. As far as general progression goes, the script calls for a slow burning pace, not unlike anything Hitchcock was known for. It's obvious that the filmmakers were aiming to create a classic-type thriller here. But, unfortunately, while the look and feel is certainly there, the overall execution of things, really lacks the cinematic, and suspenseful punch, that a film like this one. needs in order to make an impact. First off, Kate Bosworth's character is far too predictable. Initially, she seems too perfect to be true, so, we the audience, know something is up, right off the bat. So when she turns into a complete nutjob over time, it's really no surprise. Wes Bentley, is also of the most typical of victims suffering from amnesia. We get it, he can't remember much of anything, thus making him vulnerable to be victimized. In short, the film's 2 characters are generic in every sense of the word. One is mentally unwound, and the other is easy to manipulate by the other.The only form of real surprise in AMNESIAC, surrounds the character of "Audrey", the young teenager that, in the beginning, appears to be the couple's daughter. After the opening scene, in which we see the crash occur, Audrey is not seen until much later. Initially, one would assume that she had died in said accident, but later it is revealed that she is alive, and well, and when more details about Audrey emerge, things are not what they seem. The details at this point, are supposed to come as a shock, but again, it's just not surprising, as we have seen identical, or similar plot details elsewhere in other stories and films. AMNESIAC, is a film that is not entirely original on its own, as the majority of the film feels like a rehash of popular plot ideas. When coming away from the film, just as it were for the man in the film, some things just don't add up, when it comes to character motive, and other details, leaving us with a few unanswered questions, as well as a general level of confusion.
The acting in the film is just ok. Kate Bosworth, whom happens to be married to the film's Director, Michael Polish, just feels wrong for the role. Never in the film does her character feel 100% comfortable with the viewer. One minute, she is the nice, and caring wife, and then the next, she is slightly offkilter, showing signs of mental illness, as she often spouts, useless factoids about a number of things. The continuous facts which she states, such as "a bottle cap, costing more to produce, than the actual bottle itself", are meant to clue the audience in on the woman's mental state - but it instead, begins to just annoy us over time. Which is obviously, the opposite of the desired effect. And when it comes to Bentley's character, he is the one we are supposed to care about, but unfortunately there is just not much that we know about him, that would compel us to do so. As far as characters go, he is pretty plain. The film mostly relies on flashbacks in order to build upon the character, but it's just not enough. There are subtle hints here and there, in an attempt to create depth for the character, but they come across as uncertain, causing the audience to share a similar trait with Bentley's character - confusion. I mean, is he, or isn't he the husband? And if not, then who is he exactly? These are two things that never get answered in the end.
AMNESIAC is a film that comes across well in it's trailer, in fact, the trailer intrigued me to see it. But when it comes to the film itself, it is a film that has style, but very little substance. It's approach and style is nice, and old school. That's a plus. But when it comes to overall execution; in its script, characterization, and the accompanying performances from it's actors, the film lacks the necessary depth and emotion to truly pull us in. Instead, we are distanced from the film in the end, and are confused with it, more than we are impressed by it.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
I really wanted to like AMNESIAC, and even was willing to let it take its time to settle in, but honestly, it never got any better than its opening scene(which is truly the film's best moment). It's slow, which is something I usually don't mind, but when the slow burn doesn't lead to much, it's a problem. The pay off here is very little, and there is nothing like leaving a film disappointed rather than excited, especially when the film is a thriller. The film looks nice, but overall it leaves a lot to be desired.