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Remember (Blu-ray Review)

Remember is a cinematic gem I'll never forget! (Blu-ray Review)Lionsgate presents Remember, starring Academy Award winners Christopher Plummer and Martin LandauPlummer plays Zev Guttman, one of the last living survivors of Auschwitz who lives in a nursing home. He’s been sent on a mission by Max (Martin Landau), another resident of the facility, to exact lethal retribution on the Nazi soldier responsible for the deaths of their families.  The problem is is that both Zev and Max are in their 90’s and Zev suffers from crippling Dementia.  So with the help of Max, and a series of notes and reminders he struggles to maintain his memory and focus on his quest for vengeance.

 Remember is a cinematic gem I'll never forget! (Blu-ray Review)

 

Film
When I first heard about this movie my initial impression was that it was just gonna be some watered down mix of Schindler’s List and The Bourne Identity.  But boy was I WRONG!  The strength of this film lies in it’s subtlety.  It knows exactly what it is and doesn’t try to pander to any one demographic.  You might also think that this is just some movie that only older folks can get into, but that’s just not the case.  No matter what your age, anyone can empathize with Zev’s journey on some kind of level.  The movie doesn’t really focus much on his age at all in fact.  Most often when a film’s main characters are of the older variety the filmmakers add humorous scenes to reference the difficulties of getting older.  Or they might have some drawn out monologue that details how much they miss “The Good Ol’days”.  But thankfully at no point does Remember fall into any of those silly cliches.  It keeps you glued to the screen every step of the way.

I had planned to watch this movie in increments over the course of a few days.  But once I got a few minutes into it, I knew that I wasn’t gonna be able to turn this off until the end!  I’ve been a fan of Plummer’s ever since the The Sound of Music.  He just has this calm elegance about his demeanor that conveys such strength while at the same time seeming very approachable.  He’s one of those actors that somehow elevates every film they’re a part of.  It’s really awesome to watch him walk this tight rope of using his age to play on people’s sympathies in order to get through tricky situations.  A younger person would seem pretty suspicious going about the various tasks Zev has to do in order to narrow down his search.  Max has found the name of the guilty party, but unfortunately there are multiple Germans with the same name who fought in WW2 and then migrated to America when the war ended.

Remember is a cinematic gem I'll never forget! (Blu-ray Review)

I used to work in an Alzheimer’s and dementia unit and I can definitely say that Plummer nailed this role!  The confusion on his face, the anger he feels when he forgets something, and the sadness that falls over him as his memories slowly start to come back are all magnificent to watch.  Generally speaking, people with this type of condition experience quite a bit of anxiety.  So when they are taken out of their normal routine it can be pretty overwhelming and at times traumatic.  So when you throw in the fact that Zev is putting both his life and freedom on the line, you can just imagine the toll that all of this is taking on him both mentally and physically.

I have little doubt that there will be comparisons to Christopher Nolan’s Memento in that the main character is on a mission for vengeance and his biggest obstacle is his own mind.  However, where Guy Pearce’s character was unable to make short term memories, Zev struggles to recall events from his past.  And not just little things like, his wife’s favorite color, but major events that simply slip away from him when he wakes up.The music is very reminiscent of a 60’s spy thriller. Very subtle and casual but at the same time exciting and evocative.  The best comparison would probably be John Williams’ score for Catch Me if You Can, but not quite as “Jazzy”.  This is another instance where the filmmakers and composer could have chosen a somber and sad direction similar to that of a war film.  Where the horn section slowly dirges along as Zev goes about his mission.  But that would have been ill suited to this picture.  The music maintains a brisk pace with energetic melodies that remind you not to feel bad for this person, that he knows EXACTLY what he’s doing and what he’ll eventually have to do.

Without giving too much away, this movie comes to quite possibly the most satisfying conclusion that a story like this could reach.  To say that it’s a plot twist would be reductive and would give you the impression that it’s just some random plot device revealed for the sake of shock value.  But rather it’s the culmination of a gripping journey that’s been rife with unexpected developments and a surprising amount of action.
 Remember is a cinematic gem I'll never forget! (Blu-ray Review)
 
Video
Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Original Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Clarity/Detail: Excellent across the board.  Every scene is very easy to make out without any blurriness.
Depth: Very good.  There aren’t TOO many long distance or wide shots.  But when they do opt for that perspective it’s beautiful to look at.
Black Levels: Not a lot of opportunities for deep black tones.  But for what there are, it’s clear and rich.
Color Reproduction: At times I kinda felt like this film was shot like a TV show. Similar to that of Breaking Bad.  So in that way it was kinda gritty and didn’t have the usually glossy finnish that most movies have.  But then again, that could’ve been stylistic choice for the story. Either way, it doesn’t detract too much from anything.
Flesh tones: Crisp and clear.
Noise/Artifacts: None.
Remember is a cinematic gem I'll never forget! (Blu-ray Review)
Audio
Audio Formats: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Dynamics: Excellent!  The in particular is expertly mixed.  At no time did I ever feel it intruding on the rest of the film.
Low Frequency Extension: Not much use for LFE in this film aside from a few gun shots.
Surround Sound Presentation: N/A
Dialogue Reproduction:  Perfect.  I’d like to point out just how spot on Plummer and Landau’s accents were.  I really appreciate when an actor takes the time to authentic their dialects or accents.  It truly enriches the quality of the entire film.
 *
Extras
  • Performances to Remember – Interviews with the filmmakers and actors about the reasoning, mindset, and background as to why they wanted to make this film. It also includes behind the scenes footage of the film, plus you get some really great insights from both of the legendary actors that bring this story to life.
  • A Tapestry of Evil: Remembering The Past – This gives a more detailed examination of the holocaust and how it influenced the film. It includes actual Nazi footage as well as interviews with Holocaust scholars.
  •  Audio Commentary with Director Atom Egoyan, Producer Robert Lantos, and Writer Benjamin August.
  • Trailers
 Remember is a cinematic gem I'll never forget! (Blu-ray Review)
Summary
I was genuinely shocked at just how much I loved watching this film!  They really don’t waste any time getting you pulled into the story. Most movies of this type would usually start with some kind of narration about how after Max and Zev survived Auschwitz they made a solemn vow, and yada, yada, yada.  But you really get a sense of their earnest commitment as you follow Zev on his mission.  I love it when movies don’t treat the audience like they’re dumb or like they’ve never seen a movie before.  Remember hits the ground running and rarely takes a breath from it’s tense and suspenseful story.  But that’s not to say that it rushed through the emotional moments.  It allows you to settle into them just long enough to realize that film never truly settled at all!
 *

“Remember” arrives on Blu-ray May 3rd!

Remember_3D_BD_Ocard (621x717)

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Writer, Musician, Composer, Singer and Dancer. To sum up: I like to get jiggy with it!

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