Till Human Voices Wake Us Michael Petroni

Till Human Voices Wake Us Michael Petroni
Amnesia seems to follow Guy Pearce around. First, he was haunted by severe short-term memory loss as he searched for his dead wife's killer in Christopher Nolan's revelatory Memento. Now, as Australian psychologist Dr. Sam Franks, Pearce is tortured by the memento mori of a mysterious young woman who doesn't even know her own identity (Helena Bonham Carter). "Some things are too unpleasant to remember," he tells the troubled waif after fishing her out of a rain-soaked lake in the Australian countryside. You mean, like that Count of Monte Cristo remake? Franks has returned to his childhood hometown of Genoa to bury his father, but it's clear he's uneasy about coming back. Through copious flashbacks we learn the story of a teenaged Sam and his childhood sweetheart Silvy, a T.S. Eliot-loving free spirit shackled to leg braces. Sam feels spurned by his distant father and turns to Silvy for emotional release, until a sudden tragedy destroys his ability to connect deeply with anyone. Could this enigmatic woman who recently entered his life be a key to his past? Capturing the blush of first love is as difficult as bottling the proverbial lightning, and writer-director Petroni (who also wrote the script for Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) does a good job conjuring the right atmosphere in this meticulously shot anti-epic. Filmed entirely on location in the province of Victoria, the film is as lovely and slight as Bonham-Carter's physicality itself, yet its pace is way too slow to simply blame on atmospherics. To make matters of slightness even worse, the only extra offered on the DVD is an inexplicable promo for a cable television comedy about a teenage girl becoming the Grim Reaper called Dead Like Me. That's your first and last clue to solving the mystery. Extras: trailer. (Paramount)