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Unknown White Male (2005)

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The true story of Doug Bruce who woke up on Coney Island with total amnesia. This documentary follows him as he rediscovers himself and the world around him.


Rupert Murray
4 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Doug Bruce Doug Bruce ... Himself
Rupert Murray Rupert Murray ... Narrator (voice)


Just imagine waking up tomorrow with no memory of today or any other since the day of your birth. Imagine living without a history, without experience, no relationships, no past troubles. Imagine starting your life over again, making a new set of friends, finding new talents and falling in love for the first time. Imagine what it's like to see the world anew. On the 2nd July 2003 Doug Bruce left his apartment on the Lower East Side at about 8pm. No one knew where he was going. No one knew he'd gone. He turned up, 11 hours later, on the New York subway heading to Coney Island. He had no idea who he was. Unknown White Male is the startling story of a man who, for no apparent reason, lost 37 years of life history, who lost every memory of his friends, his family and every experience he had ever known. This true story follows Doug in the hours and months following his amnesia, as he tries to pierce his life back together and has to discover the world anew. The film dramatically ... Written by Jess Search

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

amnesia | giving a toast | See All (2) »


If you lost your past, would you want it back?

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for drug references and brief strong language | See all certifications »






Release Date:

January 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Agnostos lefkos andras See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,591, 26 February 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$124,414, 7 May 2006
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


[first lines]
Narrator: How much of our past lives, the thousands of moments we experience, helps to make us who we are? If you took all of these remembrances, these memories, away, what would be left? How much is our personality, our identity, determined by the experiences we have, and how much is already there - pure "us"?
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References Blade Runner (1982) See more »


It's Cruel
See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting topic handled poorly
22 March 2006 | by mkcasperSee all my reviews

I saw this film last night and was very disappointed with it. It is quite apparent that the filmmakers have no training in how to construct an interesting story. This film is about as interesting as watching someone's home movies. The interviews with Doug, his family and friends make no attempt to delve into the startling revelation that Doug has completely lost all sense of his past. They all might as well be talking about what Doug plans to do after graduating from art school rather than talk about how Doug will handle "re-starting" his existence at age 37. There seem to be some small clues in the film that may explain how poorly it was put together. Doug spends little time back in Europe with his former friends and family and they don't seem to make the journey to visit him either (except for the filmmaker). Doug himself mentions that his British mates seem to have deep feelings for him but they seem concealed by a typical British avoidance of such emotion.

That is exactly how this film feels (or doesn't feel). There is almost no emotional connection to the film or the subjects (even Doug). You don't really even walk away with a "There but for the grace of God go I" empathy towards Doug. The most riveting emotional notes are in the first 10 minutes as Doug recalls the first hours of his amnesia and his complete feeling of being lost and real terror about not even knowing who he might be able to call to come pick him up from the hospital. After that, it is if the film has been sterilized of all emotional "infection". Even as a factual depiction of this extreme form of amnesia it falls very short of being informative or interesting.

Without apologizing for the filmmakers, I can understand how they would not want to use this opportunity to manipulate or exploit Doug's situation or his condition by forcing some kind of confrontation with Doug's past. But the film goers don't get any real kind of bridge with Doug's past either (or his present for that matter). Without that, you can't really move yourself emotionally into either wanting Doug to regain his memory or rooting for him to carry on with a new existence that is different and separate from his past. It is almost as if even his old friends and family didn't really know him all that well so there wasn't much of Doug for them to lose.

This movie should have some kind of theme to it. Loss...renewal...exploration...frustration...something...anything! And the filmmaker would have been better served to get some professional help with the subject and maybe take more time with the project to see if a more interesting story develops.

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