"Memories Alone" tells parallel stories of a father at the end of his professional career and a daughter at the beginning of hers.
- NTSC DVD-5
- Blu-Ray (BD-25)
I was extremely excited to see this after reading all of the positive reviews, but unfortunately this fanedit just didn’t really do much for me.
My biggest gripe is that I never believed, not for one second, that Randy is Nina’s father, or that Randy was once married to Nina’s mother. I couldn’t imagine a scenario where those worlds would have collided, and the viewer never gets a sense from the Black Swan side of things that there was ever a father in the picture. The synopsis claims that Randy is “rekindling a relationship with his estranged daughter,” but that rekindling is not seen nor implied, with the exception of a phone call that we don’t see Nina listen to.
I also found much of the movement between the two films extremely jarring. The darker tone, more suspenseful music and hallucinatory images of Black Swan generally did not mesh well with the more traditional stylings of The Wrestler. Only one of the split screen edits worked for me, and there were several instances where intercutting between each film seemed unmotivated. I didn’t think there was much cohesion between each storyline, and I rarely felt like I was watching one movie with parallel stories. Instead, it mostly felt like two (excellent) movies that kept interrupting each other.
This fanedit is not without its bright spots, however. I thought the ending was absolutely terrific. There are a number of genuinely clever and interesting juxtapositions of images and sounds. Q2 did a good job crafting a consistent visual style between the two films. And The Wrestler and Black Swan are terrific films in their own right, so I enjoyed watching scenes from each film in a new context, and this contributed heavily to my overall enjoyment of the fanedit.
Despite those positive elements, I (reluctantly, because I loved the concept) would not recommend this fanedit. Memories Alone flounders at forming the narrative it purports to tell, and the two films it draws from are not as harmonious a pair as I had hoped or expected.
This edit is a stunner! Q2 has merged these spiritual cousins beautifully, so that it truly feels as if the two films belong together. The editing is graceful and naturalistic, daring but not intrusive, with both films balanced beautifully around their shared themes and motifs. A few times I picked up on what was cut, but at no time did I feel like I was missing out; such is the superb craftsmanship of this fanmix. A few people felt that the end product was a bit too long, and it is a long film, but I was so engrossed in these stories (that I'd already seen) that it never FELT too long to me. Don't miss out on this one!
The only gripe I have is with the video quality of the file I watched. I got the HD MKV, and about 45 minutes in, I started to notice degrading in portions of the frame that looked like compression artifacts. (A dramatic example starting at 01:04:28) These kept up off-and-on throughout the rest of the film, and they were pretty distracting. They were especially detrimental in the later Black Swan scenes when they would obscure the subtle FX work on Nina's skin.
A very well done edit that's kind of an eye-opener regarding the original movies. Apart from the trademark Aronofsky filmmaking style (long tracking shots following the characters from behind, and the likes) and the similar endings, I hadn't detected the many parallels the two movies have. In Q2's version at least, they kind of seem designed to complement each other. My favorite moments were the parts in which both stories meet, particularly the dress-up montages at the beginning and the back-and-forth between the two performances at the end, with Swan Lake getting carried over the Wrestler footage. Might be a bit too long, yes, but what to cut? It all fits.
Technically, it's all very well done. The Black Swan footage shows a lot of seemingly added grain to render it closer to The Wrestler's, that might be a bit too obvious and degrade the texture a bit too much. But it's otherwise fine, as is the audio.
A very good "outside the box" edit that achieves its goals admirably.
I can't say much without repeating what the other reviewers said. This edit is perfect and easily replaces both originals for me. Well done, Q2.