Tony Scott's Memorable Movie
Anyone who grew up during the 80s would have watched a Tony Scott movie; he gave us "Top Gun" one of a long list of Hollywood action movies which would dominate his career. Yet it was over a decade earlier that the then young Tony would make his movie debut with the 57 minute, black & white "Loving Memory" and what a curious movie it is when compared to all those big Hollywood movies he would go on to make. In fact if you stumble across "Loving Memory" and are curious to watch because you read it was Tony Scott's debut movie as director I warn you that this is not only nothing like the movies he would go on to make but possibly nothing like you will have ever seen before.
After an elderly brother (Roy Evans) and sister (Rosamund Greenwood) knock down and kill a young man (David Pugh) on his bike they haul his body into their old car and drive it back to their home in the middle of the woods. There the woman sets about tending to the boy, washing his clothes, dressing him in the clothes of a departed family member called James and talking to him about their past, slowly transforming him into the image of James. Meanwhile the brother sets about building a coffin out of scraps of wood so he can bury the boy alongside James who he buried years earlier much to the annoyance of the sister.
To sort of understand and appreciate "Loving Memory" it is worth knowing a bit of history to Tony Scott because originally he studied fine art with plans to become a painter but following working with his brother Ridley on his debut decided to turn to movie making. That element of art is dominant throughout "Loving Memory" with a look which is strangely beautiful, from the isolated home of the siblings to the cluttered room that they place the young man in. But I would never call it artsy because the look whilst beautiful is also simple, minimal yet telling the story.
As for that story well there is something macabre about this tale of siblings isolated from the world who take home a dead body. But whilst I say macabre it is by no means a horror and in fact is almost ambiguous because we have this look at how these strange brother and sister operate, the sister obviously emotionally damaged whilst the brother silent, just doing what he does. You are never entirely sure what is what because of the strange construction of it, the woman chatting and making the boy into an image of James whilst the brother whilst building a coffin also single handedly works a mine. Maybe it's me but this simple storyline almost seems to be trying to say something but I don't know what because of its strange nature.
And on the subject of strange we have a movie with just 3 actors, one plays dead, one doesn't speak whilst the others talks and seems delusional, living in the past yet all 3 are strange captivating. It is weird watching the motionless David Pugh as the young man playing dead because of the way the sister dresses him and speaks to him he becomes this strange character in his own right, almost having a persona. Then there is Roy Evans whose silent toiling away makes you all the more curious to what is going on with this odd couple, is he in his own world or humouring his sister by letting her do her thing. And then there is Rosamund Greenwood as the sister, delusional but not scary and in a strange way you feel for her in her state of strangeness.
What this all boils down to is that "Loving Memory" is a curious movie and so very different to the movies that Tony Scott would become famous for. It is hard going yet also fascinating and beautiful in a strange macabre, ambiguous sort of way.