Omer Fast’s take on a brilliantly original piece of writing from Tom McCarthy assaults the senses to truly submerge its audience in a bizarre and abstracted world the protagonist has found himself in, post-accident. As Tom Sturridge’s character awakes from a coma he finds he cannot remember either the accident that has broken his body or the events leading up to it. Fast defines obscurity and honours the abstract with the intelligent puzzle McCarthy has created, resulting in a viewing experience that is like entering into a house of mirrors.
Fast’s choice of Sturridge for the ever-brooding and tormented lead is inspired. His growing turmoil and vulnerability is palpable as he tries to reconstruct his existence to a level of perfection reality can’t attain. Sturridge manipulates his body to portray commendably the trauma his character has undergone. His stiffened gestures and cramped hands paired with the many focus shifts and disorienting sound effects work to simulate in the audience the perceptions of the damaged mind narrating the piece. The performance is supported by Ashar Ali’s brilliantly British study as Naz, mixing skilled comic timing (when rationalising the eccentric demands of Sturridge) with refined stoicism, as a complex relationship develops between the two. This relationship is countered by Edward Spleerer’s effective, more assertive performance as the concerned best friend, struggling with underlying darker elements that add to the prolonged feeling of foreboding the Remainder instills.
As the film progresses, pieces of the puzzle are revealed but they certainly don’t fall into place. Fast plays with our traditional understanding of form and sequence to deconstruct the linear order of events; we are left questioning what is even real as we sink further into this devilishly addictive sense of confusion. His fluid transitions from memory to reality to deja-vu leave us questioning our perceptions of reality and firmly establish Remainder as a thriller to watch out for.
Omer Fast provides a visually stunning piece of British, film long awaited from a master of video art.
Remainder does not have a UK release date yet.