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fugue Fugue opens with a two part definition of what a fugue actually is…

  1. A period during which a person suffers from loss of memory, often begins a new life, and upon recovery, remembers nothing of the amnesic phase.
  2. A musical form consisting of a theme repeated a fifth above or a forth below the continuing first statement, to make a unified final composition.

…and those are all the clues you’re going to get!

I’m not saying that Fugue is some sort of Nolan-esque, time altering mystery, but it does have its moments.  You start off wondering one thing, then perhaps something else is going on, then you’re not quite sure, but then everything is revealed and resolved.

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There is a time shift/repeat element in there but not in the same way as there is Groundhog Day or Palm Springs, or a running the wrong way like in Memento, but the erratic nature of the time flow is indicated quite early on. I say indicated on purpose, because it is noticeable but not obvious; more of a sharp intake of breath by some others in the audience rather than flashing lights, klaxons, and a slap across the face.

It’s more a question of something happens and you think “I’ll need to remember that,” and you get a feeling of satisfaction when it’s explained later on.

No Spoilers here, except what’s in the trailer (Just so you’re warned)

Obviously the problem for a reviewer of a film like Fugue is balancing between talking about the film and managing to avoid spoilers, so I’ll do what I usually do and take a quick look at the trailer…

So we’re back in memory problems territory. A man wakes up, and there’s a loving note reminding him to take some medication; it was unlabeled which I found unusual but, hey, willing suspension of disbelief and all that. He walks around and switches off a buzzing light. A woman walks in and he asks who she is and she tells him she’s his wife. She reminds him about his tablets again. He’s in a steamed up bathroom and notices a handprint on the mirror. It’s smaller than his… hers? We’re only twenty seconds into the trailer, and everything I’ve mentioned is not only explained later but is a plot point!

The cast is really good

The man, Malcolm (Jack Foley), is a striking individual. If I could get a beard and hair to behave as well as that, I’d have a similar look! The woman, Helen (Laura Tremblay), is gorgeous, sexy, tough, and frightening by turns, as the story progresses. Mike Donis, Kristen Da Silva, Michael Lipka, and Evan Siemann are all good value for money, but I can’t say any more about their contributions for fear of giving too much away. I’ll admit that I was looking forward to seeing Fugue because there was a small copy of the artwork for the DVD box or a poster, and the woman on it looked a lot like Nicola Walker, who is one of my celebrity crushes. She wasn’t in it, but I still enjoyed Fugue!

The big MacGuffin is the safe… what’s in it, who wants it, can they get it? Some masked men break in with violent intent, but Malcolm has forgotten the combination. So the rest of the film pivots around that. Oh… the trailer does hint that Malcolm might not be the nice old hippy he appears to be, but could have a kind of John Wick vibe going on.

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Michael Linhart

July 30, 2023

My bladder thanks you so much!! App works great for telling u when and for how long you have a pee break! I didn’t use the timer function so the dialog in the movie was a great clue as to when to go. I also liked the info about each movie to know whether there was any extra scenes during or after the credits. Nothing worse than waiting for all the credits and then no extra scene.

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Anyway… enough! Just do yourselves a favour and go and see it whenever you can. It has all the plot twistiness of Tenet but without the need for a degree in temporal physics.

Movie Grade: A-

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4 responses to “Indie Movie Review – Fugue”

  1. I am totally going to watch this. And I can’t believe I haven’t seen Momento, but I have significant movie catalog gaps from my years doing wilderness guiding.

    Of course, now I have new gaps, like Tenet.

    Anyway, I like stories like this where the clues all come together if you’re paying attention. That’s just playing fair: bring the viewer along and hope they feel vindicated at the reveal.

  2. Without intending to disparage either side, Fugue is a bit like Tenet-light… similar back and forth but nowhere near as complex.

    Just to make it clear, I’ve seen Tenet twice, thoroughly enjoyed it, and and fully intend to be seeing it again soon. I also enjoyed Fugue and will make sure I get another viewing of it soon.

    So when I say Fugue is a bit like Tenet-light I’m doing it from a position of enjoying both films and not trying to run down one against the other.

  3. I am thrilled to be compared to sucha mind-bender of a film and only hope that a rewatch adds to the layers set out in Fugue.

    Thanks for the lovely review

  4. Thank you for getting in touch, Tomas!

    It was just a question of being honest about a very interesting and enjoyable film. I hope Fugue gets the audience it deserves and look forward to your next project.

    Take care

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