After making a smashing English-language debut in 2001 with “The Others,” Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar hasn't been quite as busy in Hollywood as one might have hoped. He returned to Spain for his follow-up, the euthanasia-themed biopic “The Sea Inside,” and picked up the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for his efforts. In 2009, he returned to international filmmaking with the Rachel Weisz-starring historical drama “Agora,” an ambitious but rather turgid affair that didn't find much of an audience.
Since then, things have been rather quiet — so it's good to see the writer-director returning to genre filmmaking with the Spanish-American co-production “Regression.” The film, on which principal photography has just wrapped, stars Emma Watson and Ethan Hawke in a psychological thriller — in the literal sense.
Watson plays a young woman who accuses her father (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” star David Dencik) of sexual abuse; when he admits guilt but no recollection of the abuse, a psychologist (David Thewlis) is recruited to extract his memories, uncovering a nationwide conspiracy in the process. Hawke plays the detective investigating the girl's case.
The synopsis suggests hints of the thematic territory Amenabar covered in his first two features, “Tesis” and “Open Your Eyes” — the latter of which was remade by Cameron Crowe as “Vanilla Sky.” (Coincidentally or otherwise, Watson's character shares a name — Angela — with the protagonist of Amenabar's debut.)
Intrigued? You have a while to wait still: The Weinstein Company's Dimension branch will distribute the film in the US, and has announced a release date of August 28, 2015. Not the luckiest spot on the calendar, but I'm keen to see how it turns out. I wonder if a title change might be in order, though — “Regression” isn't the most auspicious of monikers, but maybe that's me.