Amnesia, a family thriller among the fjords
by Camillo De Marco
- The second directorial effort by Nini Bull Robsahm is a drama with a lot of plot twists, full of suspense but lacking originality
A desert island, a young couple in a luxury villa, a series of plot twists. There are enough of them for a North American remake. In fact Amnesia [+see also:
film profile], before its release in Norway in January, was already "optioned" by Norwegian directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, moved to the States to film the next installment of Pirates of the Caribbean (read the article).
The film, in competition at the Bergamo Film Meeting, is the third screenplay and the second directorial effort by Nini Bull Robsahm, following the co-direction of You Said What? with Patrik Syversen. Amnesia is a claustrophobic thriller that coats – like a motion picture film – a typically Scandinavian family drama. But the continuous twists in the screenplay and the ever present violence make it a domestic suspense movie.
Thomas and Kathrine are both writers, the first a best seller with a large readership, the second grappling with her literary debut that she considers more sophisticated than that of her husband. An opportunity to concentrate and write is offered by a weekend in their elegant chalet on an island off the coast of Norway. Wrapped up in her book, the woman rejects her partner’s amorous advances. Annoyed, Thomas reveals that he has a strong desire to have a child by Kathrine. For her the time is not at all right, wrapped up as she is in her writer’s dream. Thomas becomes violent and during an argument he falls and hits his head, waking up with no memory whatsoever. He no longer knows who he is or who this woman is. He's a different man, kind and affable, and Kathrine takes advantage of the situation to start over. They end up in bed as if it was their first time.
But Kathrine is playing a very risky game. Indeed, Thomas discovers his IDs and telephone hidden by his partner and this thus creates what Gunther Grass would define as a "cat and mouse" situation. The problem is, who is the cat and who is the mouse.
Up to that point, the psychological relationship between the two protagonists remains interesting for the viewer, even if there are no special surprises. Meanwhile, in the long finale, Nini Bull Robsahm is taken by a kind of Shining syndrome, making the movie more foregone than we might have expected, and this is in spite of the excellent performances by actor couple Pia Tjelta and Christian Rubeck.
(Translated from Italian)