"Remember Me" Movie Review (2010)

3/12/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

"Remember Me"

Directed by Allen Coulter, Written by Will Fetters, 113 minutes, Rated PG-13

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

"Remember Me" is an insignificant film that desperately wants to be significant. It puts on this facade of despair, existential angst, and I suppose historical relevance (since it's set in the latter half of 2001, you can take a guess at what you'll be seeing at some point in the film), but it doesn't really seem to actually have anything important to say and its characters are pretty flatly drawn. However, thanks to a decent cast and mostly solid direction, it manages to be at least moderately entertaining through its running time.

The film opens with a murder. A mother and her daughter are on a subway platform and two thugs rob them, one deciding to shoot the mother before taking off. Ten years later, we meet the daughter, Ally (Emilie de Ravin, best known for "Lost") as a 21-year-old attending New York University, where she meets Tyler (Robert Pattinson, best known for being an unemotive sparkly vampire). The two hit it off, but what she doesn't know is that Tyler spoke to her in the first place as revenge to a cop who arrested him previously, a cop who happens to be her overprotective father (Chris Cooper).

But Tyler is dealing with some rough stuff himself. He's just about to turn 22 and his elder brother Michael committed suicide on his 22nd birthday. Tyler and his businessman father, Charles (Pierce Brosnan), don't get along that well anymore, and Tyler resents him for not giving his little sister the attention she deserves. Tyler doesn't quite realize that his father cares, but his way of dealing with grief just happens to be remaining emotionally distant from everyone that reminds him of Michael's death.

Robert Pattinson is one of the more divisive young actors out there. His stint in the "Twilight" films hasn't done him any favors with the critics or male audiences--or really anyone but the young female audience--but I've always found that he has an extremely likable personality outside of those films, and thankfully that's the personality he brings to his performance here. He's not great--he still has a ways to go before pulling off the full-on James Dean persona he apes here--but his performance is certainly an admirable step forward and there are a couple fiery moments (particularly one between him and Brosnan late in the film) that show off some of his potential.

The rest of the cast is decent enough. Emilie de Ravin has been showing off some real versatility in "Lost" this season, but she stays relatively low-key here and handles herself well for the most part. Chris Cooper has always been great at conveying inner rage and ferociousness, and that's basically his character in this film, though he goes a bit over-the-top on occasion. His eventual confrontation with Tyler, for example, should be quite dramatic but it comes off as pretty forced. Brosnan probably gives the best performance of the bunch.

The problem isn't really in the performances, though, it's in the writing. The plot and characterization only works based on the presumption that we know these archetypes and that they don't really require any real development. The romance between Pattinson and de Ravin is reasonably believable, but it's completely by-the-book, and the entire situation plays out as one would expect. And worse still are the script's attempts at profundity and, as stated earlier, "importance." Your setting alone does not determine how relevant your film is, nor does poetic narration automatically make your film poetic.

I can't really say there's anything outright horrible in the film, but there's nothing particularly outstanding either. It'll be a convenient calling card for Pattinson, to prove he can do more than brooding romantic vampires, but for the most part it's a film that desperately tries to be more than it is and it betrays itself in the process.

Grade: C-

View the trailer for "Remember Me" below. What are your thoughts?

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