Review: ‘Amnesiac,’ Surreal and Creative Short Film
By: Joseph R. Davis
Amnesiac is a short film by V.R. Rao. When a man who suffers from amnesia runs into a familiar face at a diner, his memory begins to violently return. Starring: David Thornton, Julia Valen, and Matti Leinikka. It’s a mystery thriller with an art school, film noir vibe; it’s shot mostly in black and white. Amnesiac is almost a silent film allowing the viewer to piece the puzzle together. It’s reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s early work; a pinch of Following and a dash of Memento. That’s not to say the film doesn’t have originality. Rao makes good use of the non-linear timeline and it is well executed. Amnesiac is powerful prose unfolding piece after piece.
Micro-budget films rely on strong story and a creative approach. The simplicity of Amnesiac is exactly what indie films are made of, the brick and mortar of a strong foundation. With almost no dialog, creative use of color (or lack thereof), simple visual and audio cues, all of which are perfectly mixed to present a well-told story. It’s a solid seven minutes that has a surreal feel and as such, a good film forces you to experience it. It’s easy to lose a good story through dialog and forget that film is a visual media. That being said, simplicity and creativity go a long way to making this indie film feel more like reading a book. Every scene purposeful and direct, every scene is pushing forward or revealing the past. The performances of Thornton and Leinikka are complex. The lack of dialog puts the full responsibility on the backs of the actors and both actors play their respected roles through slight gestures and subtle movements.
Amnesiac is the second short by Rao and is sure to get some well-earned attention. The biggest question the film raises: what’s next for V.R. Rao?
Keep the Fear Alive!