Tuesday, 23 February 2016

REVIEW - REMEMBER (ATOM EGOYAN)


In spite of all its missteps and melodramatics, Atom Egoyan's Remember maintains a straightforward simplicity from its very first frame to its very last. It is a film about memory, whether regarding the effects of remembering, or of not remembering, or the effects upon memory of old age, and of a long life revisited in a short space of time. In these regards, it is a thoughtful, thorough and profound film, no less exhaustive of its subject due to its narrative directness and its lean runtime, since this subject is such an integral component of that narrative, and since Christopher Plummer delivers such a deeply-felt performance, one of his very best. An elderly man crippled by dementia, he searches for truths in the world around him that he can barely even search for in his own mind. He seeks revenge for the most heinous historic crimes, but can barely even find the clarity to comprehend the true purpose and the real significance behind his search. Benjamin August's screenplay stumbles gracelessly through several contrivances to achieve its own purpose, yet does so with consistent effectiveness - our protagonist's recollective insecurity demonstrates the damage that memory loss has done to him, whilst also inflicting further damages, of varying degrees, on his external environment. Equally, Remember displays to us the importance of remembering, our duty to ourselves and to others to never forget; the film's final scene carries the tone of a schloky shocker, but its thematic weight only increases the more one ruminates upon it. Egoyan fashions his film like the B-movie you never knew you wanted, turning Paul Sarossy's pallidly-lit interiors into blank canvases of horrible banality, made fit for even the most unimaginable of horror, with Mychael Danna's ominous score providing invaluable assistance. He turns it into an exploitation flick, a genre product that you weren't expecting, but that he handles with typical verve.