By Owen Gleiberman
February 22, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

Unknown White Male

B-
type
  • Movie
Genre

In theory, Unknown White Male ought to be a fascinating movie. It’s a documentary about Doug Bruce, who on the morning of July 3, 2003, found himself on a subway to Coney Island, unable to remember…anything. Diagnosed with retrograde amnesia, he becomes, in effect, a true-life counterpart to the Guy Pearce character in Memento. Except that Unknown White Male isn’t a thriller (in any sense). Bruce, in a matter of weeks, learns the basic facts of who he was — or still is: a 33-year-old British expatriate who made a fortune as a stockbroker and lives in an East Village loft. He meets his old buddies and girlfriends and watches home videos of himself — but none of this rings the faintest bell of recognition in the newly blank space that is his mind. Unknown White Male is framed as a look at the mystery of identity, but there’s a bizarre neutrality to the movie, since it makes Bruce’s life just as detached and remote to us as it seems to him. Everything under the sun — chocolate mousse, the Rolling Stones — is new to his senses, yet the filmmaker, Rupert Murray, who knew Bruce before the amnesia struck, probes his pal’s predicament without ever piercing the membrane of his unnerving experience.

Unknown White Male

type
  • Movie
Genre
mpaa
  • PG-13
runtime
  • 88 minutes
director
Studio
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