A horror-thriller centered on a woman living with "face-blindness" after surviving a serial killer's attack. As she lives with her condition, one in which facial features change each time she loses sight of them, the killer closes in.
The elementary school teacher Anna Marchant lives with her boyfriend Bryce in a nice apartment and every now and then she meets her best friends Francine and Nina to drink and talk. When Anna is crossing a bridge to meet Bryce, she sees an infamous serial-killer killing a woman. Anna runs but she is attacked by the killer and she falls off the bridge and hits her head. Anna stays in coma for a week and when she awakes, she learns that she has brain damage followed by Prosopagnosia, a disorder of face perception where the ability to recognize faces is impaired, while the ability to recognize other objects may be relatively intact. The police detective Sam Kerrest unsuccessfully tries to force Anna to remember the face of the serial-killer. Now the serial-killer knows that Anna has seen his face, but she is incapable of even recognizing Bryce and her close friends. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Anna checks her Facebook account where her birthday is shown as Jan 22nd. However, on a couple of occasions, she is shown to be checking her newspaper horoscope under the 'Taurus' section. A person born on Jan 22nd is a Capricorn/Aquarius cusp. See more »
Faces are the barcode of the human race. Ever since mankind went tribal, we're constantly looking at each others faces trying to decide whether they're friends, foes, or lovers. Don't underestimate the seriousness of your condition, Miss Marchant.
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I have mixed reactions after watching this movie. In some ways, the movie has exceeded my expectations, but then lets it down again and again.
On the positive side, there hasn't been a good whodunit murder mystery in a long time. Taking that into consideration, this movie is a welcome change and even starts of as a good murder mystery. Another welcome change is having Milla Jovovich in a more meaningful role as compared to her heroic association with the "Resident Evil" franchise. As Anna Merchant, Jovovich is a primary school teacher who witnesses a horrific murder after a night out with her friends. Dubbed "Tearjerk Jack" for violating women after killing them and then weeping over their lifeless bodies, the serial killer chases Anna until she falls off a bridge. Two weeks later, Anna wakes up in a hospital with a rare condition known as Prosopagnosia or Face Blindness where her ability to recognize faces is impaired. The disorder becomes an ordeal when she can no longer recognize her friends, the children she teaches and even people close to her like her father. After therapy, Anna realizes that Face Blindness is a serious disorder unless she learns to cope with it. In the process, she gets close to detective Kerrest (Julian McMahon) and learns that the serial killer is still at large. Worse, the killer knows of her condition and is now closing in to finish the job.
Written and directed by Julian Magnat, the concept is almost original and suffices as a thriller. Anna's confusion is actually felt because Magnat uses an average of 3 to 4 actors for each character in the movie. Anna's boyfriend Bryce, played by Michael Shanks, is also played by about 10 other actors. This premise works to some extant by placing the audience in Anna's perspective and each time we see different faces. Prosopagnosia is an actual disorder and portraying it in this movie is a definite tick mark for Magnat. Then it all goes downhill. The rest of the movie becomes so clichéd, it gets to be annoyingly predictable. With most whodunits, the audience is always introduced to the killer, sometimes very early in the plot, before unveiling who the killer is. With this movie, Magnat does the same, but places the killer in easy reach of Anna. So why then should we wait till the end of the movie for the killer to strike? Obviously because the film has to be made with a minimum runtime of 100 minutes! But it doesn't stop there. The ending has to be the mother of all clichés when Anna cannot tell the difference between the hero and the killer because they wear the same clothes. Another negative aspect is the unnecessary romance thrown in. In all of this mess, Anna is romantically inclined to one character, who happens to have the only face she can recognize. Go figure!
For a thriller, Milla Jovovich is not bad as the lead character. No way is she getting anywhere near an Oscar for her performance here, but her portrayal is definitely better than some of her other releases. I can't really say much about the other actors as there are various actors that keep switching each time Anna encounters another character. Since this is Magnat's second foray as director and first as screenwriter, I don't want to be too harsh on the outcome. As a learning curve, if he had paid a little more attention to the plot and it's execution in the final act, this could have been a master thriller.
Watch it if you have to, but on a lazy day. As an alternative, I recommend 1992's "Blink", a similar concept but with a better finish, starring the lovely Madeleine Stowe.
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