HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:75
Revenge really knows no age, now does it? Especially when it comes to war crimes in the all too famous World War II concentration camp, Auschwitz. World War II has held a lot of shame for Germany and the creation of one of the world’s most famous dictators. However, Adolph was not some lone madman who fooled a nation. While many Nazi soldiers went along with orders for King and Country, there were plenty of cruel and vicious monsters, just as evil as the Fuhrer, during the war itself. “Remember” takes a hard look at the intricacies of the mind, and how memory and pain can fuel someone to do something so inexplicable, so horrible, that their own mind turns in on itself. “Remember” is not a perfect film, and I have to say that it does feel like it was stretched a bit too far during the second act. However it has a nice little twist at the end that I didn’t see coming which keeps the grim and introspective thriller right on target till the very end.
Zev Guttman (the always incredible Christopher Plummer) is suffering from the early stages of Dementia in his little retirement home. However, his life is not yet over with and he has one final task he must endure. Thanks to his friend, Max Rosenbaum (Max Landau), he has a letter that details the final task he must undertake before it is too late. Zev and Max were block mates at Auschwitz during World War II and while most of the Auschwitz Nazi’s and SS agents were rounded up and tried for their crimes, one major one was left out. Otta Vallish. The Block Fuhrer for their section of the famed prison camp. Zev’s family was slaughtered by this monster, but unfortunately he escaped into the U.S. under the assumed name of Rudy Kurlander and there was never enough evidence to prosecute the man. Now, years and years later, Max was able to track down 4 Rudy Kurlander’s who fit that description coming in from Germany after the war. Armed with a Glock 17, some cash and guided by own letter, written by Max, Zev is out to right the wrong that slipped through the cracks those decades ago.
Being that Zev has dementia, things are not exactly as easy as it would be for a young man. However, Max has paved the way for the old man. Setting up hotels around the 4 locations where the differing Rudy Kurlanders reside, and basically making the important trip as easy as possible for a man who wakes up in total confusion until the limited memories and faculties he has left kick in. What seems straight forward and simple turns out to be just that. A straight forward and simple trip across the U.S. (and into Canada) where the holocaust survivor tracks down the 4 Rudy’s one by one and checks them off the list as NOT being Otto Vallish. That is, until he meets the final Rudy. Someone his memory knows and remembers.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=69761[/img]“Remember” is a humble film that aspires to be so much more, and sadly just BARELY misses the mark. That is not to say that the film is a bad film at all. In fact it’s a surprisingly solid thriller that just drones on a bit too long in some parts. It doesn’t try to be too emotional, but that also acts as a negative, as the moments that ARE meant to be emotional and tear jerking just aren’t that intense. Now. The good part is that the acting is top notch from several really great actors. Christopher Plummer has had an incredible acting career stretching back even further than when he made a name for himself as Colonel Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music”. The venerable Martin Landau (almost unrecognizable) shows up as Max, and even the famed Jurgen Prochnow (famed from “Das Boot” as the sub commander amid of various other films) makes an appearance. Zev and Max are the two main characters though, and are instantly likeable as the two senior citizens trying to right a wrong. The rest of the characters in the low budget film are really there just to move the plot on. Whether it be the security agent checking out the Glock 17 outside the department store, or even Henry Czerny (“Mission Impossible”) as Zev’s son, Charles. It’s a simple two man show with Max at the helm and Zev doing his best to finish the mission that he so desperately wants to complete.
While the movie itself isn’t perfect (the middle act is a bit too much of a slow burn at times), the ending act is done with great panache. We have the villain in sight. The memories are triggered……….and then everything twists in on itself and we realize there’s something else that wasn’t revealed to the viewer just yet. A little something that turns everything on its ear. The twist isn’t particularly clever, and in reality I should have seen it coming. However, the slow burn and simple honesty of the first two acts covers up just WHAT is going on until it’s a bit too late for the mind to catch onto. It’s short and simple, with a few flaws, but I really shouldn’t go into those flaws at all otherwise the ending is completely ruined for the readers.
Rated R for a sequence of violence and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=69769[/img]Shot digitally, “Remember” looks quite nice on Blu-ray with a 1.78:1 AVC encode that varies in texture and tone throughout the film. Certain bits, like the nursing home, look a bit warm and heavy in the mahogany colors, with ruddy skin tones and light red/gold overlay on the lens. However, out in the wild, it’s a different view depending on the location. Some places, like the train and his visit to the first Rudy, looks a bit soft and yellowish, while the visit with Rudy #4 is a lot brighter and filled with vibrant colors and a sharp layer of fine detailing that looks magnificent. Black levels are always pleasing, and besides some very VERY mild banding in a few dark shots, and some digital noise in the background, “Remember” is a very satisfying looking Blu-ray.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=69777[/img]“Remember” sports a single 5.1 DTS-HD MA track in English on the disc, and really it’s exactly how I imagined the track would sound. Character driven dramas like this have one main focus usually, and that is to present the dialog in the film with sharp clarity and support it with soft ambient sounds. That is exactly what we get with solid vocals and a nice piano score that flows throughout the movie as Zev navigates the outside world for the first time in many years. Surrounds are peppered with simple noises that support the story, such as the sounds of traffic in the background or orderlies talking on the phone while Max and Zev plot their mission. LFE is simple and soft, acting as a supporting role in the film, and only really pops up in a noticeable way during two brief stints of violence in the 2nd and 3rd act. It’s a simple track, but it does everything asked of it with everything it has.
• Audio Commentary with Director Atom Egoyan, Producer Robert Lantos & Writer Benjamin August
• "Performances to Remember" Featurette
• "A Tapestry of Evil: Remembering the Past" Featurette
“Remember” is a solid thriller that touches on a lot of rather sticky subjects at times. We have the good old revenger thriller shell, but also a solid look at the ravages of dementia and how it works on the mind of someone. We see Zez struggling to remember just who he is at times and clutching on to the fateful letter that propels him towards his destiny. It’s sad, whimsical at times, but also bleakly harsh as it turns and twists in on itself during the final act. I really ended up enjoying the thriller a LOT more than I expected. DTV movies these days usually a miss more than they are a hit, but Lionsgate and A24 films delivered the goods here, even if it’s not as epic as many more mainstream films on the same subject matter. Audio and video are impressive, and the extras are rather decent with a nice commentary that adds some meat to the story. Definitely worth checking out as a good rental at the very least.
Starring: Christopher Plummer, Dean Norris, Martin Landau
Directed by: Atom Egoyan
Written by: Benjamin August
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 95 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Buy Remember Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Solid Rental
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