This is a capsule review. A full review will be published when the film hits theatres.
At first glance, Remember may seem conventional, even derivative, and on paper this might be true. The premise is that its central character, Zev, a survivor of Auschwitz, embarks on a quest to find and kill the man responsible for the death of his family at the concentration camp seventy years ago.
Complicating this mission is the wrinkle that Zev’s advanced age means he struggles with memory loss, often waking up disoriented and forgetting where he is, and looking for his wife, who has recently died. Fortunately, he has sheets of paper detailing his general mission, his reasons for going on this trip, and all the steps he is required to take to achieve his goal, all thanks to his friend, fellow nursing home resident and fellow survivor, Max.
This description alone makes it seem like Remember is a movie many of us have seen before. It sounds sort of like Memento, but instead of a strange kind of trauma-induced amnesia, the protagonist simply has mild dementia, not uncommon for someone living in a nursing home. This may seem like a minor distinction, but watching it play out dramatically makes for a more believable story, and allows more immediate engagement with the character.
The other ingredient that separates Remember from many revenge-themed films is the influence of director Atom Egoyan. It would seem as though he has been in something of a slump lately, but thankfully, he demonstrates really strong work here. One word that will likely enter the minds of many viewers is “Hitchcockian,” and it definitely seems to fit.
It might be hard to classify Remember, but the genre I like to think of this film as falling in step with the most is the road movie, except instead of featuring two friends, it’s simply an old man, his gun, and his motive. And when that man is Christopher Plummer, it’s more than enough to make Remember a worthwhile story.
Remember features director Atom Egoyan and actor Christopher Plummer operating at the top of their games, delivering an intriguing revenge tale.