Amnesiac tells the story of a man who wakes up in a strange house with a strange woman, only to find out that things are not as they seem. The man, played by Wes Bentley, begins having flashbacks of a car crash involving someone he believes to be his daughter, and as he tries to put the pieces back together he uncovers a web of lies, murder and torture. The woman, played by Kate Bosworth, seems to be hiding information from him and as he physically recovers and regains his ability to walk, she starts to show signs of mental instability and violence.
Director Michael Polish has crafted a film here with a very dark and brooding tone that fits the themes present in the narrative well. The movie looks as it should, wherein the main antagonist believes herself to be living in the 1950s even though the story is set in present day. The pacing of the film is sluggish at times, but it all fits into the intention presented overall. Where the film falls short is in it’s character development. As scenes of shock, surprise and torture are presented, we are left with characters that seem to be without much depth or feeling below the surface.
Getting into the story of this film will definitely require spoilers, so if you’d like to remain spoiler free, please skip this paragraph for now. So Wes Bentley wakes up in his house and Kate Bosworth tends to him with an air of mystery and odd aloofness. As he starts getting his health back, he explores the house and finds a torture dungeon/workshop in the basement. He has been left stricken with memory loss and doesn’t remember if Kate Bosworth is his wife, or if she is an unhinged psychopath spouting party trivia. It is eventually revealed that the two had planned to steal a child due to the woman character being infertile. All this leads to multiple murders and very disturbing scenes of kidnapping and torture to include electroshock therapy.
I can’t say that I would recommend this film to anyone who isn’t already interested, but that’s not to say Amnesiac doesn’t have it’s merits. The film looks great and the detail paid to making it seem like a period piece contrasts well with the scenes where we see the modern detectives trying to figure things out in their offices. Kate Bosworth looks great as a blonde Hitchcock-like femme fatale and Wes Bentley definitely sells his role. My only issues really have to deal with the pacing and the character development, and aside from an enjoyable quick cameo from Richard Riehle, the film is disengaging. This is one that I would put in the queue for a rainy day.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars