Memory loss, as any reviewer will be quick to point out, is not exactly a new subject matter for cinema. The silver screen, with its potential to string together images with little explanation, is an ideal medium for explorations of amnesia. Memento will be the flagship comparison, and there are shades of Lost Highway too. But what makes Remainder stand out is that it’s a film not only about retrieving the past but about actively recreating it.
When the unnamed man receives his compensation package, he sets about translating his memories into reality. He buys a South London block and populates it with actors, among them an elderly woman whose job it is to ceaselessly fry liver and a pianist who he tasks with composing Chopin. At his side is Naz (played by Arsher Ali) a man whose job title eludes definition; part property developer, part theatre producer, part logistics co-ordinator, he helps to facilitate the vision.
But this attempt to re-form the past grows into something else entirely. Sturridge’s lead is a megalomaniac, bending others’ to his will via increasingly violent and cruel coercion. It’s a tough role, but he plays it with impressive believability.
The film is adapted from Tom McCarthy’s book of the same name, a novel which saw the author suddenly cast into the limelight. The question is whether Remainder will do the same for first-time director Omer Fast. It’s a tough one to answer.
At times, the film can feel a little minor: an esoteric puzzle unlikely to reach a large audience. But there’s potential here too; Fast is evidently a director with ideas, unafraid to make a challenging debut.
|What||Remainder film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
24 Jun 16 – 19 Aug 16, Event times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here to visit the film's IMDB page|