A man wakes up in an alley, bleeding and with no memory of who he is. He stumbles into a coffee shop and is befriended by a charitable ex-nun who is failing in her attempts to write marketable pornography.
Thomas doesn't know who he is, he's forgotten that his wife Sofia hated him so much that she pushed him our of the window, he's forgotten that he's a major pornographer and blackmailer. He's starting from scratch really when he recovers from his fall and meets up with Isabelle in the nearest cafe. She's recovering from being a nun for fifteen years, trying to write erotic novels from no experience whatsoever, and trying to be the nymphomaniac the Virgin Mary once reveals she was, with Thomas. Meanwhile Sofia, desperate for money, takes over Thomas's blackmailing activities, offering to sell two floppy disks with incriminating information back to the international arms dealer called Jacques, who lives either in Amsterdam or London. Jacques wastes no time in sending hitmen to find Thomas, Sofia and Thomas's accountant Edward. This is a crazy eccentric world we're entering here.
Hal Hartley, that master of the phrase "laid back", has created a world that ought to be alien, but has resonance that connects with us the audience. Why do they call it floppy disks when they're not round and they're not floppy? The cast includes Isabelle Huppert, a fan of Hartley's who wrote and offered to work with him. And she was right, she's a perfect Hartley heroin, as is Elina Löwensohn who plays Sofia, she is a dynamo. And it just wouldn't seem the same if Martin Donovan didn't have a role in a Hal Hartley film, he's familiarly beautiful as Thomas. I like the unexpected twists and turns of character and plots in all of Hartley's films and in Amateur especially.
David: I think it starts off extremely well, with some interesting characters, some very very witty dialogue, and intriguing situations, but I think plotting is not his strong point. [...] But it is by far his most enjoyable film.