Directed by Tomas Street, Fugue follows amnesiac Malcolm (played by Jack Foley) as he struggles to put the pieces of his life together. He wakes to find himself in a remote country home that he shares with his wife. She explains that he’s had an accident and needs to take his pills until his memories return. But after a visit from a friend, he begins to question those closest to him in regards to his true identity. Set in a secluded location and featuring a small cast, the film has a claustrophobic feel that will have you questioning everything.
When it comes to indie films, some wear their budgets on their sleeve, presenting big ideas with raw energy to make up for low production values. Then there are films like Fugue that live within the parameters of their finances and deliver a solid plot with interesting characters. The premise is simple. A man has a secret and even he doesn’t know what it is. Add in some aggressive antagonists who are on a timeline, and the tension of piece gets the audience invested. Street puts all these elements into play and the result is a highly entertaining 90 minutes where everyone has a stake in the game.
As smart as the plot is, the whole thing would fall apart with a poor performance. Thankfully, all the actors involved deliver. This is the second film I’ve seen starring Jack Foley in as many months (the first being Lifechanger at Toronto After Dark) and was once again drawn in by his quiet exterior. He’s very good at creating tension in a scene with just a look. As Malcolm, he’s both commanding and curious. You’re never quite sure if you can trust him. Laura Tremblay and Mike Donis also give layered performances where their motivations are never quite revealed and it’s questionable if they every should be.
Fugue leaves the viewer in a constant state of uncomfortable intrigue, never quite giving a moment of relaxation. The movie begins with a number of questions. As the answers to these questions become clear, a new set of queries are revealed. It’s a film that’s always changing but has a clear path at the same time. As the story attempts to disorient the viewer in the first half of the film, they leave just enough breadcrumbs for the audience to follow to a satisfying conclusion. While not all questions are answered, the viewer is left with what they need to know.
If you’re looking for a psychological heist movie that looks great and keeps you on the edge of your seat, Fugue is a refreshing take on the genre. Check it out at BITS18, tonight at 7PM at The Royal Cinema. Get your tickets HERE.
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