Directed by Omer Fast.
Starring Tom Sturridge, Cush Jumbo, Ed Speleers, Arsher Ali, Shaun Prendergast and Laurence Spellman.
A London man who loses his memory when he’s struck by a falling object develops a way to reconstruct his past.
A directorial debut from Israeli video artist Omer Fast, and adapted from Tom McCarthy’s novel, Remainder is an infinite loop of unnerving, sinister and mind-bending cause-and-effect.
The story focuses on an unnamed male protagonist in his late twenties or early thirties, played fantastically by Tom Sturridge, as he wakes up from a coma with little to no memory of his life before an accident that left him physically and mentally crippled. Fast works visual clues to their maximum potential to fully immerse in this story, as Sturridge’s character recreates scenes based on the small fragments of memory he still has.
Beginning fairly harmlessly, Remainder gives off the impression of being a heist movie or something similar, with a distinctive British feel to it. It’s set in London and benefits from up-and-coming British talent (Ed Speleers as Greg) as well as fully established British powerhouses like Nicholas Farrell, who is uncredited on the cast list but plays a lawyer who helps Sturridge’s character reach a settlement for the accident.
What follows is the slow unravelling and disturbing waking dreams of a man who has lost everything, and will go to great lengths to claw some of it back. Sturridge is cold and calculating, meticulous in his portrayal and what becomes an ever-darkening downward spiral of a broken man. Visually, many elements are just as unnerving as Sturridge’s performance, a testament to Fast’s background and artistic vision. There is a certain ruthlessness about the way the film is shot – from a glass ceiling smashing in the financial district, where Sturridge’s character is crushed under a falling piece of metal, to the haunting depiction of the character’s visions.
The story itself is something of a head-scratcher, and what I’ve seen some people call a mobius strip. Others have compared the plot to that of Memento and other films that play with concepts of memory and time. Some elements of Remainder are a little too obscure to really develop the impact needed to propel it forward, but the questions it poses, as well as the answers, cements Remainder as an evocative piece of art, a seamless cinematic blend of mind and magic, for the twenty-first century.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Kirsty Capes – Follow me on Twitter
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