The more we try to understand the human spirit, the closer we come to understanding the desires of humanity in our time – and there is no guarantee that we will ever achieve such a feat. The human soul is like a well that stores memories that it uses when it thirsts to connect with its true nature. We choose what we want to remember, and we also prefer to bury the records that are not good for us so that they can be rescued in a detailed work of emotional archeology that only we can do. Less happy passages are swept under the carpet without the slightest concession, and in response to this movement we have already looked for episodes that really deserve to occupy a share of our experience in us. The Spanish essayist Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936) said that life is forgetting, and anyone who has ever faced problems that he considered insurmountable and overcome, struggled, continues to struggle, to get out of their way or to give up. He understood, after all, they don’t ask for that much, he agrees.
However, when we can’t count on what we have most and what we thought was always available, no matter how many bombardments we’ve been through, something lights up in us that makes more sense. Because we feel that we are in danger of losing control of ourselves, who we are and what we have the chance to become, there is an urge to fight for our own history, even as we face our own biology. Of course, this is a particularly difficult battle, but the chances of victory are greatly increased if we are clear about what it means and if we are accompanied by the belief that we ourselves are the adversaries with whom we have to fight. Amnesia provoked by a mysterious trauma becomes the biggest ordeal in a boy’s life, dueling what he knows about himself in “Blackout” (2022), Sam McCarron’s genius work, in which the director examines in detail the conjunctures that can explain the fall. This man is in such a deep abyss and why he cannot be left.
Josh Duhamel has a lot of Charles Bronson (1921-2003) in Blackout. Immediately after the opening, in which the Vietnamese-American Van B. Nguyen’s screenplay features Cain, Duhamel’s anti-hero, recovering from an attack that caused the neurological consequences mentioned in the title, supported by Anna, Abby’s anti-girl. In Cornish – who, contrary to what she says, is not his wife – the narrative already shifts to the shooting scenes and free-wheeling fights that also abound in the performances, led by Bronson and his indomitable moustache. Embodying a desire for reparation that turns out to be somewhat misplaced, Kane begins to report to the Clinica Sonora, where he is hospitalized, in Mexico, especially since none of the figures that surround him inspire confidence. Eddie, a heavyweight dealer played by Omar Chaparro, the actor’s big reveal, tricks him into thinking he’s his partner at the DEA, the US Department of Justice’s narcotics division; Ethan McCoy, that, yes, veteran DEA agent played by Nick Nolte, is up to his neck with the cartel run by Chapparro’s character; And finally, even Dr. Garza, the doctor who helps him, an uncredited actor, would have a lot of explaining to do about the cocaine plant in the hospital basement if caught.
“Blackout” makes many mistakes, big and small. For starters, Duhamel and Cornish don’t have a shred of chemistry, and trying to make them seem like a romantic comedy couple after all the absurdities they’ve been through together is laughable. At one point in the story, Anna declares herself, only to be met with disdainful silence from Cain. On the verge of breaking up, he “remembers” that she loves him too, and the kiss they share has surely gone down in movie history as one of the most irreverent (and somewhat disgusting) kisses of all time. Nolte, with all due respect to his Lionel Dobby from Woody Allen’s Tales from New York (1989), looks frozen, even in front of a pair of smoking pipes; In the end, it’s up to Chaparro to try to save the crop, which he might have if he hadn’t been thrown through countless shell-tracking scenes.
In Baker’s account, the brave workers of Dawn, with whom I identify so much, at least 90% of the 81 minutes of “Blackout” is just the thunder of bullets and the scuffle of thugs. An intolerable flaw or an excellent quality if you want to re-strain in the dark.
direction: Sam Macaroni