What if you lived in a world where a disease spread where once infected you lost all long-term memories and had no ability to sustain new ones. That is the premise of Embers from rookie director Claire Carre. The world has suffered a catastrophic global event leaving the survivors to fend for themselves seeking shelter in the hollowed out buildings and abandoned cars. People experience the memoir loss differently depending on their age. If you were a kid then your stuck at an infant, toddler or juvenile mental capacity as opposed to a lesser effect on a fully developed adult brain.
Ben and Jenny know they are connected because they wake up together but have no idea why. They have a blue plaid string tied to their wrist serving as a tangible link. Each day begins with picking names for each other followed by an enjoyable day falling in love again then pledge, not to go to sleep as they will have no memory of the day.
Director Carre starts with the thought of how precious memories are to each individual person. Different people can experience the same event but their perception and point of view creates a unique memory. The narrative also includes the story of a father and daughter that escaped the disease by bunkering below ground. The daughter is willing to take the risk and leave to experience the outside world while her father is well aware that once outside they all likely loose their memories that make them who they are.
Locations play a key role to establish the mood of the film. Two distinct ones are used to set the tone naturally for the natural deteriation of an abandoned urban environment overrun by nature and a vast countryside outside of a city where the bunker is located.
Jason Ritter and Eva Gocheva make a fine pair as the lovers that rediscover each other each day. They are part detective as they start a day by figuring out how they fit. Part explorer as they trek through abandoned buildings, recreation centres and churches and soul mates ending the day in a passionate embrace. Tucker Smallwood is notable as the professor James Robertson. He has rigged yarn all around his rural property to remember routes to and fro. Most of his day is spent scouring his scientific books trying to work through the problem of memory loss.
Embers is a film about the loss personal memories. The story touches on the upside of losing a painful or negative memory, which serves as valuable a plot device. Director Carre brings the audience into the action at the moment when the lovers rise to start a day thus seeing the world as Ben & Jenny. This choice shifts the viewer's progression from behind, to level to ahead by the next daybreak Severe Amnesia is concept that has been explored before most notably in Christopher Nolan's Momento. However this time its presented on a massive scale.
*** Out of 4.
Embers | Claire Carre | U.S.A. | 2015 | 85 Minutes.
Tags: Anterograde, Retrograde, Amnesia, Memory Loss, Ruins, Rape, Lovers, Bunker, Sci-Fi, Disease, post apocalyptic.