I Don’t Know Who You Are review

Premiering at TIFF in 2023 and featuring on this year’s lineup at BFI Flare, M.H. Murray both directs and writes this deeply personal feature debut.

In the landscape of healthcare systems where affordability often dictates access to life-saving treatments, “I Don’t Know Who You Are” shines a piercing light on the stark realities faced by individuals like Benjamin, played by TIFF rising star Mark Clennon, a struggling musician in Toronto thrust into a nightmare scenario after a harrowing sexual assault. Director M. H. Murray’s feature-length debut is a poignant exploration of not just personal trauma, but the systemic failures that compound the suffering of victims like Benjamin.

As Benjamin grapples with the aftermath of assault, the urgency to obtain PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis), a crucial HIV-preventive treatment, becomes a tense race against time. Murray’s narrative deftly exposes the gaping chasms within the Canadian healthcare system, where financial barriers can condemn individuals to dire consequences. Benjamin’s journey isn’t just one of personal anguish but also a damning indictment of a broken system that fails to provide adequate support.

Amidst the tension and desperation, Clennon delivers a tour-de-force performance that resonates with authenticity. His portrayal of Benjamin is layered with nuances, from the subtle gestures of stress to the moments of quiet vulnerability that speak volumes. Through Clennon’s portrayal, Benjamin emerges as a relatable figure, grappling with familiar struggles and vulnerabilities.

Murray’s direction masterfully captures the visceral anxiety of Benjamin’s quest for financial assistance, juxtaposing frenetic energy with poignant introspection. Moments of quiet contemplation serve as poignant reminders of the human toll exacted by bureaucratic indifference. Despite occasional missteps in dialogue and staging, Murray’s vision remains compelling, offering a gripping portrayal of resilience in the face of adversity.

At its core, “I Don’t Know Who You Are” transcends its narrative confines to deliver a profoundly uplifting message of resilience and connection. Benjamin’s journey is a testament to the enduring power of human relationships in times of crisis, offering a beacon of hope amidst despair. In a world fraught with uncertainty, Murray’s film reminds us of the importance of community and solidarity in overcoming life’s greatest challenges.

Director: M.H. Murray
Writers: M.H. Murray, Victoria Long, Mark Clennon
Cast: Mark Clennon, Anthony Diaz, Nat Patricia Manuel