9 November 2007 | lost-in-limbo
I'm keeping my hands clean.
A man is brought to a hospital with a severe case of amnesia and neurosurgeon Laurence Jeffries takes it upon himself to help out the patient. He dismisses it as intoxication, and pretends to take him to the station. However he brings him back to his home, but the motivation for this is unclear, and everything he's doing to supposedly treat him is done in secrecy. The identity of the stranger is becoming clearer, but so are the doctor's true intentions as he begins to manipulate the situation.
Confined, low-key low-budget French/Italian psychological drama with commendable performances by Charles Bronson and Anthony Perkins. The whole-set-up is like a stage show, were it lies heavily upon the expressively versatile performances and ambitiously novel material. The layer-bound premise is totally illogical, but strangely absorbing with its unforeseeable offbeat nature of offering up numerous surprises, and interestingly unlikely developments. However there are some questionable, teething problems involving the scheming, and its possible outcome. There's just too many cracks, to make it bullet proof that you just wonder if there was much thought put in behind it. Still there are elements that are smartly conceived, and this can be contributed to the manipulative tension (where the repressed anger, and violence is played out through a human tool) and mind-messing that director Nicolas Gessner (the man behind the superb 'The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)') ably works in. As well the believably committed turns of the two leads. Bronson and Perkins worked off each other magnificently. Perkins' cold, planned performance with Bronson's disorientated, assailable figure is sincerely pre-figured. There's no doubt this is one of Bronson's best acting turns. Jill Ireland is adequate in her small role. Gessner's sure-footed direction subtly paints a glum, intrusive puzzle with unique filming techniques that slowly strings you along to a powerfully bitter climax, which finally concludes on an inspired final shot of possible sickening regret. Sometimes it loses out by ponderously stretching it out too much with some raggedy editing, and another weak spot was the playful, but unremarkable misplaced music score by Georges Garvarentz. It just didn't add any sort of punch, or feel. Pierre Lhomme's slick cinematography is steadily framed.