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Amnesia: The James Brighton Enigma
Amnesia The James Brighton Enigma
Actors: Dusan Dukic, Karyne Lemieux, Louise Laprade, Norman Helms, Steven Turpin
Director: Denis Langlois
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Gay & Lesbian, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2007     1hr 30min

Inspired by true events, this shocking story unfurls as a young American wakes up stark naked in a parking lot one frigid morning in Montreal. The only thing he remembers is that his name is James Brighton (Dusan Dukic) an...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Dusan Dukic, Karyne Lemieux, Louise Laprade, Norman Helms, Steven Turpin
Director: Denis Langlois
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Gay & Lesbian, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Gay & Lesbian, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: TLA
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 11/20/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Amnesia and Confusion and Pseudobiopics
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 12/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"AMNESIA: THE JAMES BRIGHTON ENIGMA (Amnésie: L'énigme James Brighton) is an independent Canadian film based on fact, but with alterations of names and places to protect/enhance the real people. The title's two operative words are 'amnesia' and 'enigma' because watching this film places the viewer in the uncomfortable position of confusion as to fact and fiction - a state of main that must imitate the art of the story! The story is a version of an incident that occurred in 1998: a young nude lad was found in a deserted lot in Montréal, taken to a hospital where he was found to have total amnesia except for the fact that he knows he is gay and he believes his name is 'James Brighton'. The story is enhanced by a strong script by Bertrand Lachance and Denis Langlois (who also directs) and by a cast that is able and convincing, especially the main character James Brighton/Matthew Honeycutt (Dusan Dukic).

The grit of the film lies not so much in the storyline (that becomes fragmented at regular intervals due to the moments of memory return the main character experiences), but instead in the manner in which our amnesiac struggles to find his identity, a family, and a sense of belonging. Through the help of social workers, detectives, a gay hotline service, and the media the 'true' identity is slowly unveiled, but not without some serious setbacks - often presented to us as flashback bits and pieces as to who our amnesiac may be. The transitions between the Montreal scenes and the subsequent scenes in Tennessee (the apparent home of the amnesiac now known as Matthew Honeycutt) are choppy with sidebars of Pentecostal church services adding to the confused mix. Yet in the end the pleasure of the film is up to the viewer's interpretation of all the 'facts' that have been discovered: we are allowed to participate in the enigma. In Québecois, French, and English with variable subtitles. Grady Harp, December 07
"I'm much more than gay, but that's all I remember ..."
Bob Lind | Phoenix, AZ United States | 11/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A young American man wakes up naked in a Montreal parking lot, with no memory of what who he is or how he got there. All he remembers about himself is that he is gay. So begins "Amnesia: The James Brighton Enigma" (Canadian 2005), a fictional story based on real life events.

The first thing that the young man eventually remembers is what he believes his name to be: James Brighton. He remembers other isolated things, such as some music he likes, expresses a familiarity with television broadcasting equipment, and easily picked up French as a second language when sent to a class. But he still claims not to remember where he is from, or how he got to that parking lot in Montreal. He is diagnosed with a rare type of amnesia, likely associated with a severe mental or emotional shock of some kind, but all therapies fail in trying to find out more. He turns for help to a staffer from the local gay helpline, as well as a doctoral student who has taken an interest in his case. He appears on a tabloid TV show broadcast throughout the United States, hoping that will provide leads as to who he really might be. When some calls come in, they suggest that James isn't who he claims to be at all, and perhaps faked his amnesia in order to force a new start away from legal problems in the US. What is likely his real life comes back to him gradually, in flashbacks, but we are never quite sure if that is the truth either.

An interesting approach to an amnesia story, with kind of a Lifetime / Movie of the Week vibe, though the acting is a bit better than that genre. The writer puts an interesting hook on the old "I am so much more than just a gay man"-tirade by introducing us to someone who doesn't know anything about himself *except* that he is a gay man, and raising related issues of how important identity is to one's wellbeing.
The film is paced well except for the last half hour or so, when characters seem to appear without any real introduction, and disappear just as quickly, making it difficult to follow what is happening. I was also confused trying to follow the dialogue which alternates in English and French (for which subtitles are provided), sometimes in the same sentence. Despite its faults, this is a worthy effort, and I give it four stars out of five. DVD has only chapter stops, photo gallery and a trailer; a director commentary and more background info on the real case (which is provided on the film's website) would have been nice. Not rated, but would only be a PG-13 for gay content.
Just who is He?
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 10/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Amnesia: The James Brighton Enigma"

Just who is He?

Amos Lassen

Due to be released soon from TLA Releasing is "Amnesia: The James Brighton Enigma" a movie based on true events. A young amnesiac awakens in Montreal not knowing anything about himself except that he is gay which turns out to be the central theme of the movie. We do not know what happened to him before he was found naked on the street but we learn that eventually says his name is James Brighton. Then begins a search for his identity which is really interesting because no one has reported him missing. He is taken in by a gay support group who help him to find out who he really he truly James Brighton or has the stolen the identity of someone else. Is he really suffering from amnesia and who is the real James Brighton?
It is a fascinating story in which sensitivity and other philosophical questions about the nature of identity are dealt with. We look at the idea of what happens when a person suddenly loses his identity and the rewards and risks of regaining it and the ways the loss affects relationships with others and with oneself.
There is a great deal about this movie to like and the film successfully puts emphasis on the mystery of James Brighton and how and why he lost his memory and with it his identity. "Amnesia" manages to avoid the clichés and psychological nonsense that usually are found in movies of this sort. The film concentrates on the difficulty of attempting to unravel a mystery like this and thereby hold's interest. What is missing is successful transition which left me confused and several characters that could have used a little more development. These characters also come and go at breakneck speed so we never really get to know them. Even with that I found the music compelling.
Enjoyable one-time viewing
D. Homsher | Lancaster, PA | 01/22/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is basically a fictional documentary-style film. Character development is minimal. Although "unrated," the movie is PG-13. Don't expect sex, nudity or violence. Worth watching once. I felt it was a well made, engaging effort. The packaging and trailer may, however, lead you to believe it's a steamy, character driven movie---which it's not."