Summit Entertainment // 2010 // 112 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // June 16th, 2010
An unforgettable story about the power of the heart.
"Everything you do in life will be insignificant, but it's very important that you do it, because nobody else will."
Tyler (Robert Pattinson, Twilight) is a 21-year-old guy living in New York City. His older brother recently committed suicide, and Robert is attempting to cope with his feelings. He has a strong relationship with his young sister Caroline (Ruby Jerins, Shutter Island), but struggles to communicate with his overbearing father (Pierce Brosnan, The Tailor of Panama). One day, he meets Ally (Emilie de Ravin, Lost), the daughter of a New York police detective (Chris Cooper, Breach). Tyler and Ally hit it off pretty quickly and soon find themselves in a committed relationship. For the first time in a long time, Tyler begins to feel joy in his heart. How long will this happiness last?
As a critic, I'm hard-pressed to figure out how to address Remember Me as a film without spoiling the ending. You see, the conclusion is one of such significance and weight that it essentially overwhelms and defines the entire film. Everything that comes before is only significant in relation to the ending. However, I'm not really a fan of providing spoilers unless the situation really demands it, so let me tell you what I can about the film and then attempt to address the matter of whether or not it's worth seeing without getting into specifics.
The image on the Blu-ray cover suggests that the film is a fuzzy, syrupy cuddle-fest starring the Australian girl from Lost and everyone's favorite pale-skinned bubblegum-wrapper rebel. That's entirely misleading, as the film actually has a considerably more somber tone. While there are certainly elements of cliché at play (particularly in the romantic department; we're given the usual meet-cute followed by the temporary breakup followed by the inevitable reunion), the movie also manages to be unpredictable and unconventional at times.
From a business standpoint, the film is the first attempt to examine just how much box office potential Robert Pattinson had outside the Twilight franchise. The public responded with a resounding, "Eh, a little bit, I guess." Then again, I suppose it's reasonably impressive that the film did as much business as it did (about $19 million) considering its general resistance to mainstream glamour. If there's anything the film desperately wants, it's to convince viewers that it isn't blatantly commercial. Well, I suppose it's not. Whether it's any good is a more debatable matter.
The film's biggest problem is actually the famed Mr. Pattinson; the actor's sulky modern-day James Dean impression is unconvincing and moderately annoying. I get that he's bitter at his father and at life in general, but the intense resentfulness seems overplayed. Emilie de Ravin is respectable enough in her role, but doesn't make a huge impression. The supporting players certainly shine, though. Pierce Brosnan and Chris Cooper both turn in fine performances as the complicated fathers of the film's two lovers. Brosnan is a little more reserved than usual, Cooper is a little more frantic than usual and both have more depth beneath the surface than we initially expect.
So, up until the final ten minutes or so, we have a moderately involving drama about moderately interesting people. Okay.
Then there's the ending (again, I'm avoiding spoilers). It's the sort of ending that will in all likelihood leave viewers either intensely moved or intensely offended, and I think that a strong case can be made for either reaction. However, I feel a little ambivalent about it. While there's a part of me that thinks the film is enriched by the conclusion (and that it also justifies the "blah" nature of Pattinson's character), there's another part of me that thinks it's pretty cheap exploitation and that all of the film's attempts to stay outside the mainstream are flimsy safeguards to protect it from accusations of being precisely that.
The Blu-ray transfer is acceptable, yet unremarkable. The level of detail is reasonably solid throughout and flesh tones look warm and accurate, but the general aesthetic of the film's design is just so drab and dingy that the movie never really manages to make a strong impression from a visual standpoint. In addition, the darker scenes have a tendency to be a bit murky at times. Still, the transfer gets the job done and doesn't leave me with any significant complaints. The audio is fine as well, with low-key subtlety being the name of the game. The score is understated and brooding, the dialogue is generally quiet and the sound design isn't too obtrusive. Supplements include 15-minute EPK-style featurette, a commentary with director Alan Coulter and a commentary with Robert Pattinson and other cast members who don't matter because they're not RPatz.
Whether you approve or disapprove of its final destination, the film is somewhat well-made and involving. Those are the facts. As for the rest, you should proceed at your own risk.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Summit Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 112 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13