Ana is a troubled person, her house may be haunted, but then again it could all be in her head. Over three periods of her life her viewpoint changes, though she remains just as troubled.
Amer is a three-tiered Belgium homage to giallo, that style of cinema popularised by Dario Argento, and as such represents high art with very little in regards to narrative and dialogue. So if unfocused abstraction isn’t your thing then you might as well stop reading this review now, because this film 100% will not be your cup of tea, as indeed was the case with myself.
The first section, focusing on Ana as a child, experiencing all manner of weirdness involving a veiled lady, kicks the film off interestingly enough. The stately home interiors and cinematography are rich and beautiful, and pull you into the world of the film so that you are intrigued enough to be genuinely anticipating what might be happening to the girl. Like Zhang Yimou’s Curse Of The Golden Flower the visuals reach such heights that if the film were to stay its course, you could watch it for these alone, unfortunately…
The second section is, as far as I can understand, the teenage Ana walking to the salon with her mother… Which lasts for about twenty-five minutes, in which the visuals become extremely repetitive. Lingering close-ups eyes, lips and flesh dominate and probably hold oodles of subtext involving sex and death, but I’m not the type who can be bothered with deciphering such vague indulgences, and as such the film takes a sharp turn for the boring, and to some extent, frustrating.
The third section focuses on the grow-up Ana returning to her childhood home, and starts in the same style as the second section (much to my dismay), but pulls back into the grounds of the creepy as it seems Ana is being stalked by a leather gloved person in her own house. The abstractions mount to an eventual crescendo that, depending on your viewpoint, tips the film into the realms of high art, or leaves you feeling like you’ve wasted your time.
If Amer would have come together to a cohesive point, giving the abstraction a reason, it could ultimately have been impressive, but as it stands, for someone of my leanings, it remains self-indulgent and pointless.
E grade – for storytelling
B grade – for visuals
C grade – for acting
Overall grade D