My review of the incredible Remainder by Omer Fast is over at Flickering Myth and below…
1. The faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information.
2. Something remembered from the past.
3. A potentially faltering and problematic thing with the capacity to occlude and confuse.
In Remainder, the feature film debut from Omer Fast, an intricately woven web of ideas and codes is constructed, both on-screen and off. The viewer is lured into a perplexing thriller that brings philosophical vision into a detailed run through of noir-ish themes and psychological horror plays. Adapted from Tom McCarthy’s cult novel, the movie shares the disturbing nature of films as diverse as Memento, Mulholland Drive, Pi and Spellbound.
Fast is an acclaimed visual artist well versed in the mind’s potential for playing tricks on an individual. Much of his work has focused on the subjective nature of reality, with video pieces asking questions of conventional storytelling and the erratic blurring of appearances. A picture never lies, we once learned. Fast has always been intrigued by showing how they frequently do, and providing insight into exactly how this can be.
In Remainder he uses a random event to explore how identity and reality is created. When an unnamed man (Tom Sturridge, Far From the Madding Crowd) is hit on the head by a falling object he awakens from a coma to find his memory erased and a compensation package for £8.5m. His lawyer instructs him that the money is his on the condition that he says nothing about the accident. This isn’t a problem; he recalls nothing. The only thing he can remember are tiny snapshots of images which he obsessively reconstructs into physical form, hoping to unlock further clues about his past life. As he delves deeper into the mystery surrounding him, he becomes embroiled in intrigue, suspense and immediate danger.
Remainder is a fascinating film, full of the real personal horror of losing one’s footing in the reality of life. Fundamentally it is concerned with trauma, an area that Sturridge brings out wonderfully well in his portrayal of the unknown protagonist. He manages to play the lead as a victim who is facing a profound internal struggle – while also imbuing him with a grim determination. There’s a strange sense of optimism in this, that the human spirit is so proud it will fight against debilitating events, looking for understanding and meaning.
The protagonist – an anti-hero really – is certainly not there to invite sympathy. At times he comes across as a rich kid spending his new found wealth on frivolous and speculative activities. There is method in his memory problems, though as he expends more and more effort – and cash – on bringing his memories back to life. In the reconstruction of various homes and property, Fast appears to be making a side comment on the gentrification of urban city areas (the film is based in London but the filming locations are as hared with the German capital Berlin).
Fast is also clearly concerned with the obsessions of film. There is more than a sense of Kubrick about Sturridge’s character; he tries to rebuild his memories with a huge team of assistants deliberating on exactly how to get the right sound, precise smells and accurate colour to the documenting of internal pictures. As well as his striking central performance, there is fine support from Cush Jumbo (The Good Wife), Ed Speleers (Downton Abbey) and Arsher Ali (Four Lions).
A remarkable movie, Remainder is a spectacular and mind-mangling trip.
Remainder is in UK Cinemas and on demand from June 24th.
A recent favourite of mine, Peter Strickland’s psyched out Berberian Sound Studio is now on in Germany… my review is over at ExBerliner.
Blood – UK dark psychological thriller – is out at the end of this month and is reviewed over at Flickering Myth… intense stuff!
My review of enjoyable popcorn horror/comedy Some Guy Who Kills People is over at Flickering Myth now…
My review of horror/thriller The Pact appears over at Flickering Myth… worth checking out…
This review also appears over at Memorable TV…
Described as Home Alone meets First Blood, The Aggression Scale is a taut and nervy thriller from writer Ben Powell (Satanic) and genre director Stephen C.Miller. Featuring strong performances, well executed set pieces and a reunion for Twin Peaks alumni Dana Ashbrook and Ray Wise, this slick and well crafted movie doesn’t pull any punches as it blazes down a grim highway of thrills, spills and nastily booby-trapped jumps.
Dana Ashbrook (above)
Concerning itself with violent criminal Reg Bellevance’s (Wise) attempts to track down his horde of illicit cash, the film largely follows his motley crew of hit men (including Ashbrook) as they aim to hunt down and kill anyone involved in said money’s disappearance. It gets, as Bellevance instructs, “loud and messy”. After reaching the Rutledge’s remote new home, the gang of scary guys (most of who seem to be bald and wild eyed, The Hills Have Eyes style) quickly discover that at least one member of the family won’t go down without a fight…
Ray Wise (above)
From the 80’s style hot-pink title credits (reminiscent of Nicolas Winding Refn’s hugely influential Drive) to its explosive finale, The Aggression Scale fills its lean 82minute running time with a barrage of violent shocks and none-more-black humour. With an impressive showing from its young leads Ryan Hartwig and Fabianne Therese, the film is an intelligent and classy brutal sugar rush of a thriller.
The Aggression Scale is released on DVD and Blu-Ray 3rd September
My review of the Stockholm Syndrome psychological thriller ‘In Your Hands’ is over at Memorable TV…
Kristin Scott Thomas is great but you’re left with a rather unpleasant taste in the mouth at the end…