Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Doug Bruce
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Rupert Murray
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for drug references and brief strong language
Language: English
Running Time: 88
Date: 10/03/2006
IMDB

Unknown White Male (2005)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Memory Man

At age 35, Doug Bruce woke up on the Subway at Coney Island and didn't know who he was or how he got there.

He carried a backpack, but in it were few clues except for a phone number. Through it he found a girl he had dated a couple of times, and she led him back to his apartment and re-introduced him to his life: a British-born, retired stockbroker with enough money to live as a full-time photographer in a beautiful loft in Greenwich Village.

Directed by Bruce's buddy Rupert Murray and begun just days after the incident, the film ought to have the advantage of familiarity (like Terry Zwigoff's Crumb), but Bruce treats Murray just as he would any other filmmaker, without a flicker of recollection.

Thus Unknown White Male only accidentally finds snatches of profound storytelling, such as the fact that Bruce can't remember his mother at all (she died before the memory loss) and that his old arrogant self seems to have melted away into a new, genuinely open man with a curious soul.

But when Murray tries to guide the film, tries to ask Bruce pointless questions about how he feels, it falters. It's a great story but a not-so-great film.

Note: Many people have stated their belief that Bruce's amnesia, and this entire film, are an elaborate hoax. If so, Bruce has kept it up without a slip for nearly three years.

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