REMEMBER || 2015, Canada / Germany || Drama || Directed by – Atom Egoyan / Written by – Benjamin August / Produced by – Aaron Barnett, Rosalie Chilelli, Moisés Cosio, Brian Cox, Paula Devonshire, D. Matt Geller, Lawrence Gutermann, Ari Lantos, Robert Lantos, Jens Meurer, Mark Musselman, Michael Porter, Jeff Sagansky, Anant Singh / Music by – Mychael Danna / Cinematography by – Paul Sarossy / Editing by – Christopher Donaldson / Productin design by – Matthew Davis / Starring – Christopher Plummer, Kim Roberts, Amanda Smith, Martin Landau, Bruno Ganz / Running time: 94 mins.
Atom Egoyan is a filmmaker often concerned by the impact of dark events in history on modern society. In Remember, he follows the story of a 90 year old man with dementia who, with the help of a fellow Auschwitz survivor and a hand-written later, goes in search for the Nazi who was responsible for the death of his family.
Despite the seriousness of the theme of war criminals, and the respect with which this theme is treated, what is perhaps most admirable about this film is that it manages to keep a balance that even allows for some feelgood aspects and is unafraid to embrace the natural humour to be found in the unlikely central hero’s mission. Remember is also arguably one of the most focused films by the director to date. Here, he is less keen on style and more concetrated on the character which is largely character driven.
The leading role of the film is played by Christopher Plummer, who carries a large portion of the film on his shoulders by appearing in practically every scene of the film. Here, complete with a commanding use of the German accent, his skill appears to be undimmed, and much of the poignance and power of the film comes from his own abilities that often even make up for the script’s lack in personal emotional investment.
The film has a few flaws. The heavy handed use of Mychael Danna’s admittedly gorgeous original score is sometimes too intrusive. The representation of dementia is a little superficial, and some of its subplots, such as the pivotal character’s family’s concern for his sudden disappearance, either underdeveloped or unnecessary depending on one’s point of view. It is, however, rewarding to see Remember take a human approach that defies the self-righteousness of most films revisiting the horrors of the Holocaust, one of the tragic events most examined by cinema. – 4/5