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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Health > Science > Mental Health > Unknown White Male (Documentary)

Unknown White Male (Documentary)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: B-     Documentary: B



A young man wakes up one morning and loses his identity and life completely.  He wonders around the city in some clothes, but is suffering what looks to be total memory erasure in Rupert Murray’s compelling documentary Unknown White Male (2005) about a 36 year old stock broker who lost his memory and tries to get his life back.  If only he knew what that was.


Now if this were a bad film, he would have instant recall by the end, but the always fascinating 88 minutes make us question without any sensationalism whatsoever what we would do in such a situation.  This is as intelligent as it is sensitive and we see all the new experiences he has for the first time to him all over again.  This happened at the beginning of July 2003 and around Coney Island.  This work never suggests it has anything to do with pollution from the 9/11 attacks, though this critic considered that.


Luckily for the man who turns out to be Doug Bruce, he has great family and friends.  Murray gets involved early on and does an ace job of documenting everything.  There are no easy answers and it gets even more interesting when he looks at older film footage, or has false alarm triggers that he hopes will jar his memory and does not.  It is a mature, intelligent work about a very serious matter and is highly recommended.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is made of various types of images and this includes degraded ones throughout and some that are not bad.  However, the results add up to what one can expect from a typical documentary.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has surprisingly healthy surrounds and clarity.  Extras include an update on Doug, extended expert interviews, interviews with friends, director & producer Q&A session, a making of featurette and extended version of the san dunes sequence.  Some tried to question whether this happened, so ugly, cynical and unaccountable that media and even journalism has become, but to say that also says amnesia is all a lie.  Guess all that hatemongering is catching up with us.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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