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 is a highly ambitious fanedit, and for the most part it works exceptionally well. The vast majority of the edits are fantastic, and create a strong sense of the parallels that bind these two stories together.
There are clear similarities between the two films, and Q2 does a wonderful job of drawing those similarities out and finding where they sync. It's also easy to believe that these films inhabit a 'shared universe', given that Arinofsky employs alot of handheld camera work in both films, and they both have a gritty realism to them (with the exception of the surreal aspects of black swan).
The larger themes of the two films bond well for the most part, although they didn't draw together at the very end as satisfyingly as I would have hoped for, had these films been intended to be experienced in this parallel way. While there is a powerful symmetry in what the two characters are willing to sacrifice for their art, their reasoning for doing so is quite different, most clearly epitomised in Nina's final line of dialogue - A line that perfectly encapsulates her journey, but doesn't really connect with what Randy the Ram is going through, and his motivations for getting back in the ring. Given that this is the final moment of the film, ideally this would have been a a line that connected the two stories more strongly.
Storywise, I almost could have done without the idea that the Ram is Nina's father. Conceptually it works well, and in the moment with the photograph it is executed successfully. The phone call, however, was not as impactful and the presence of the editor was definitely evident during that scene. It worked, but only just, and required a leap of faith on the viewers part to connect those dots.
Technically the film is excellent. I particularly loved the use of music, and the way it was able to carry across imagery from both films to highlight key emotional moments. There were only one or two audio transitions that felt unnatural or jarring (for example, after Nina puts the toys in the trash), but given how many cuts were made between the films, this is quite an incredible feat.
I would recommend this fanedit. It feels weighty and thoughtful, and certainly highlights what wonderful films The Wrestler and The Black Swan are. Congrats Q2 on an ambitious and intense edit!