Blu-ray Review: Remember (2015)

By , Contributor
Director Atom Egoyan's Remember is a curiously compelling film that will undoubtedly find favor with viewers willing to suspend the necessary amount of disbelief. Christopher Plummer delivers an entirely convincing portrait of a truly exhausted man, even when the plot points fall somewhat short of believable. Zev Guttman is a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who lives at a memory care facility. His beloved wife passed away two weeks before the story's start point. Suffering from ever-worsening dementia, Zev frequently forgets where he is or what he's doing.

Comparisons to Christopher Nolan's Memento are inevitable given that Zev must refer to visual aids in order to keep his activities straight. Chief among these is a handwritten letter outlining a detailed plan to hunt down the Nazi who killed his family 70 years ago at Auschwitz. Without this document, he's at a loss. The plan was outlined by another nursing home resident, Max (Martin Landau, billed prominently on the cover of the Blu-ray but saddled with a glorified, undemanding cameo). Max is another survivor. He's tasked the more able-bodied Zev with tracking down Auschwitz Blockführer Otto Wallisch, a man now living in the U.S. (or possibly Canada) under the assumed identity of Rudy Kurlander. There are four men with that name who could plausibly be Wallisch, so Zev must seek them out one by one. 

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Anchored by a heartbreaking performance by Plummer, Remember is a highly watchable, well-paced revenge thriller. That said, there are moments of extreme coincidence that test the limits of even the most forgiving viewer. An encounter with the son of one of the Rudy Kurlander's (played expertly by Breaking Bad's Dean Norris) is reliant on such a contrived convenience that it nearly destroys the film. Up to that point, Egoyan had cast a consistently mesmerizing spell with a story clouded by Zev's hazy memory. Note I'm tip-toeing around details because Remember is a film highly dependent on not knowing several key twists prior to viewing.

Lionsgate's Blu-ray presentation acquits itself quite handily, with an attractive 1080p transfer of Paul Sarossy's digital cinematography. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix boasts exceptionally clear, full-bodied dialogue. Oscar-winning (for Life of Pi) composer Mychael Danna's score sounds great, too.

Special features aren't extensive here, but there are some useful pieces. There's audio commentary by director Atom Egoyan, producer Robert Lantos and screenwriter Benjamin August. "A Tapestry of Evil: Remembering the Past" is a short but interesting piece about the real-life mission to apprehend Holocaust perpetrators. "Performances to Remember" is a promotional-type featurette focused on the lead performances.

Remember could've probably benefited for a few screenplay revisions that might've ironed out some of its more contrived moments. While flawed, it's a huge cut above the average direct-to-video title (and, to be fair, Remember did land in a few dozen theaters in fall of 2015).

 
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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is music and film. As “The Other Chad,” he has written for the online magazine Blogcritics since 2008. When he’s not writing, Chaz can be found trolling jazz clubs, attempting to find somewhere to play his sax (whether anyone wants to hear…

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