Review: Remember

Score: B+

Director: Atom Egoyan

Cast: Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, Henry Czemy, Dean Norris

Running Time: 95 Minutes

Rated: R


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.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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