Winner of the Audience Award at the Slamdance Film Festival, this realistic comedy tells the story of Henry Phillips, a hapless modern day troubadour who grinds his way through the ... See full summary »
Three years after receiving brain damage in an accident, a man returns home to discover his life may be a lie. As two lives begin to become clear, he must determine what is actually happening, and more importantly, determine where he belongs. Written by
Amnesia is not a new plot device and in some films it just doesn't work. Into the Arms of Strangers makes good use of it by supporting it with intimate cinematography. The filmmaker has a good sense of how to handle the camera. Whether the scenes deal with loss, love, confusion, or with anger, we feel as though we can connect with the main character's feelings and even with his decisions. Even when they might otherwise seem hasty or dangerous. The story takes the viewer on a journey of discovery. Not of wonder but of deceit. If you had amnesia and nothing anyone told you seemed to add up you might start to question everything. In this case Andy is driven by his desire to know who he is and what his life truly should be.
The acting is anchored by the two strongest people in the film. Ron Carey plays Andy with the right amount of emotion. You never get the sense that he's just an emotional wreck as he understands his situation all too well. He is a man driven to know the truth so that he can have a real life. April Wade, as Erin, plays his wife and her performance gives the film a character that you want to believe is honest and real even as you question her motives as you do everyone else's.
This is the kind of film that deserves to be seen in theaters. Independent films like this are where budding filmmakers can get their start and Into the Arms of Strangers is evidence that the filmmaker has the tools necessary to make good films. I believe his best strengths are his cinematography and the ability to keep a film moving along at just the right pace. This was an enjoyable, interesting film that kept my attention all the way through and has an ending that finishes the film on just the right note.
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