Friday 24 June 2016

"Remainder" (Guardian 24/06/16)

Remainder ***
Dir: Omer Fast. With: Tom Sturridge, Cush Jumbo, Ed Speleers, Arsher Ali. 103 mins. Cert: 15

Video artist Omer Fast’s adaptation of Tom McCarthy’s 2001 novel is a coolly ambiguous offering from the swelling cinema-does-memory file. Tom Sturridge’s shifty blank emerges from a freak accident with amnesia and a seven-figure payout that permits him to reconstruct some small corner of his identity; he does this not with tattoos or Post-It notes, rather by restaging events using actual people and places. (Painstakingly rehearsing a bank robbery, he resembles Philip Seymour Hoffman’s writer-cum-worldbuilder in Synecdoche, New York.) Fast lends this process distinctive textures and atmosphere, achieving a heightened reality by working on recognisable London streets: we’re surely watching a form of gentrification, as plummy white male Sturridge snaffles property so as to regain control over his surroundings. It’s clever but chilly, leaving the protagonist’s motivation (intentionally?) fuzzy: if what he’s doing fascinates, his reasons for doing it can seem a touch opaque. An assured headscratcher, nevertheless, full of ideas and images guaranteed to lodge somewhere in your cranium.

Remainder is now playing in selected cinemas.

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