Unknown White Male Review

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In 2003, Doug Bruce took a subway journey in New York City. By the time the subway car reached the final stop of its route, he had no memory of his own identity.


With the likes of Michel Gondry doubting the veracity of Doug Bruce’s story, this intriguing ‘documentary’ is becoming somewhat infamous. But even if Rupert Murray’s film does turn out to be a hoax, there’s no denying the ingenuity involved in its making. Bruce, the British man who took a New York subway ride in July 2003 and wound up sans past in Coney Island, is hugely persuasive. Moreover, interviews with family, friends and a Harvard psychologist seem eminently plausible.

But away from the quest to discover the trigger for Bruce’s amnesia, cinematographer Orlando Stuart and colourist Richard Shadick achieve some stunning visuals to approximate his confusion and his alternately touching and troubling rediscovery of a once-familiar world.

It should be irrelevant whether this is an authentic study of an amnesiac struggling to relocate normality or a documentary con, but the uncertainty undeniably makes this slickly produced picture seem additionally intriguing.