Director: Atom Egoyan
Cast: Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, Henry Czemy, Dean Norris
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Remember is Memento meets Inglourious Basterds, but not nearly as badass as that sounds. Both involve unreliable protagonists and hunting Nazis, but it’s far more concerned with the cost of revenge than the blood-pumping action.
Christopher Plummer, in one of the most complex performances of the year, plays Zev. He’s grieving his recently deceased wife and trying to keep his dementia under control. Summoned to his best friend Max’s apartment, he (Martin Landau) instructs Zev that it’s time to execute their revenge plan: to find and kill Rudy Kurlander, the S.S. officer who killed both their families at Auschwitz.
The trouble is neither knows exactly where Rudy Kurlander is, so Max has arranged for Zev to travel around the U.S. and Canada until he finds the right guy. But because Zev has dementia, it’s hard to know if he’ll be stable enough to pull the trigger when the time comes, or if he’ll even be able to remember if he’s done something he won’t be able to take back.
The travel sometimes makes Remember feel a little episodic, as Zev meets both kind and vicious folks on his journey and comes close to being caught more than once. But it never lets the audience off the hook. Does rooting for Zev’s success make us complicit in his actions? His mission might seem righteous, but as we’ve seen over and over – both in fiction and in real life – revenge is nasty business, and once it’s done, it’s done.
To say much more would give away the film’s jaw-dropping twists. Remember ends on such a bleak note it feels like a punch in the gut. It’s the first screenplay from former casting director Benjamin August and the best film in ages from director Atom Egoyan. This merging of talent delivers a film you won’t soon forget.