6.6/10
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40 user 57 critic

Unknown White Male (2005)

Trailer
2:25 | Trailer

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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.

Director:

Rupert Murray
4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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) »

Taglines:

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 »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Agnostos lefkos andras See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,591, 26 February 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$124,414, 7 May 2006
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[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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Connections

References 28 Days Later... (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Synthesize Me
Performed by Suzy Soundz
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User Reviews

 
Very intense, if you've had a similar experience. Irritating music, etc.
2 March 2006 | by danfmccarthySee all my reviews

Personally I'm a 55 year old white male with a degenerative neurological disorder. In 1993 the randomly occurring damage took out the equivalent of my FAT for those of you who are computer geeks. Presumably all my memories were "there." Just no organized way to find any. Think, of yourself as a library, hit by a flood. The pages of information may still be there. But not even adjacent to each other, much less in the right section of the library.

I'd walked down the hall and had the familiar experience of "what did I come in here for?" But I then realized I couldn't think of _anything_ that I had a "desire" for. I remember thinking, "Do I like blueberry pie?" I couldn't even tell if food in general was something I considered important. All the factual data was there, name, numbers, etc. But nothing about me as an individual. It took five long years to rebuild a replacement personality.

As such, this film was a very intense experience for me. (It did remind me of how much it's possible to love another person.) I would probably preferred to wait and rent it on video. But there were some yahoos (Look up Swift's Gulliver's Travels to understand the term.) who insisted the film was a fake. So I felt obliged to go see it, not just trust the opinion of reviewers like Roger Ebert. My wife and I both strongly disliked the music. As a movie, it's definitely so-so quality. But it's asking a lot to expect that an exceptional event would happen to an exceptional film maker. If Oliver Sacks wasn't a good writer there would be no "Awakenings."

I definitely would recommend that people see the movie if they care about what being an "individual" means. If you have it on DVD, watch the clips of Mr. Bruce before the "event." Get a good sense of that person. Then contrast it with who's there in that body at different times after the event. Note the purity of the love felt by the mother and daughter that first looked after him, while he was still a "child." I've had the experience of doing that with my best friend. The 9-12 months that I helped him put his life back together is the closest I'll ever come to being a parent. I wouldn't trade that joy for anything.

For further reading I would strongly suggest the very entertaining "Phantoms in the Brain" by V. S. Ramachandran and "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat" by Oliver Sacks. For exploring the limits of what consciousness is "Dancing Naked in the Mind Field" by Kary Mullis. These are both entertaining and informative, if you're not afraid to find out how little you know.


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