Amateur (1994)

Genres - Comedy, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy Thriller  |   Release Date - May 19, 1996 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - France, UK, USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Hal Hartley's fourth feature is a significant break from the quirky romantic comedy territory of his previous work -- though all of the deadpan idiosyncracies which make him such a singular filmmaker remain intact, here he tries his hand at the thriller genre, a move yielding typically unconventional and innovative results. Amateur stars Hartley mainstay Martin Donovan as Thomas, an amnesiac who, in the first scenes, wakes up in an alley, badly injured; he stumbles to a nearby coffeeshop where he meets Isabelle (Isabelle Huppert), a former nun and would-be nymphomaniac who now makes her living writing pornographic fiction. She takes him back to her apartment, where in time his past slowly begins to emerge -- a sharp contrast to the sweet, even naive soul that Huppert has befriended, it appears that the old Thomas was in fact a vicious pornographer whose attempted murder was at the hands of his wife, adult film star wife Sofia (Elina Lowensohn). Thomas is also the target of a nefarious European arms merchant whose hired guns are hot on his trail.

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Keywords

murder, nun, nymphomaniac, on-the-run, pornography, amnesia, wife, redemption