Remember Me – Review


Not likely to remember this

Up until now, Robert Pattinson has been caught up playing vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight movies. It’s blown up so big with each successive installment that he was bound to become a fixture of pop culture. His visibility has made him the pin-up darling in the bedrooms of hormonal teens, who fawn and coo when he makes his appearance, standing thirteen-feet-tall on the big screen.

But can he act?

This has been the $10,000 question. As Edward, Pattinson has shown very little range as an actor. He appears cold and aloof, which is understandable since he plays a dead guy; but when do we start buying him as an actor instead of someone who looks like an Abercrombie & Fitch model that caught a lucky break? Remember Me is supposed to be that step in the right direction.

Now it takes nearly two hours to fully understand the meaning behind the film’s title. And if by then you find yourself emotionally invested in the characters, the ending will be a sobering reminder. Others will gasp, finding the conclusion shocking and angered at why the filmmakers would use such an event as a story device.

In the prologue, 11-year-old Ally Craig witnesses the tragic loss of her mother, who is shot to death on a train platform. Afterward, her father (Chris Cooper), a NYPD officer, consoles her. He doesn’t say anything, but you just know he’s going to be the over-protective dad, shielding his daughter from harm.

We then flash forward to spring 2001. That young girl is now a young woman (Lost‘s Emile de Ravin). She’ll soon meet Tyler Hawkins (a brooding Robert Pattinson), who is fast approaching his twenty-second birthday. He’s not happy. Pissed off more often than not, Tyler often reflects on his older brother Michael, who committed suicide six years earlier.

It’s clear as day that Pattinson is trying to channel the rebelliousness of James Dean, but Dean was a rare breed. Pattinson has a long way to go at being a convincing leading man. Outside of his brooding it his quiet scenes with de Ravin that are the most convincing. It’s a romance that works far better than the Bella-Edward-Jacob love triangle, even if it’s melodramatic.

Unfortunately, that’s one of the problems plaguing Remember Me. It feels too much like a Nicholas Sparks story that’s come into contact with a harmless revenge tale. Only the harmless revenge turns into love. We’ve seen it countless times – where a bet is made and when the big reveal comes it leads to separation. A warming embrace follows and then the music swells to a happily ever after crescendo. Remember Me has the warming embrace, but just when we think it should end, the movie goes ten more minutes to give us a shocker of an ending.

After Tyler is involved in an altercation outside a NYC bar, he becomes overzealous when trying to explain the situation further with the arresting officer (Cooper) at the scene. His approach backfires and he ends up being handcuffed before spending a night in jail. Later, Tyler’s friend Aidan (Tate Ellington) suggests getting revenge on the officer by dating his daughter, Allie, who, lo and behold, is in his global politics class.

Like She’s All That, what starts out as an innocent ruse morphs into something greater as Tyler and Allie hit it off. Both have their secrets – she witnessing her mother’s death; he being the one who first discovered his deceased brother – but his is the more complicated life. He hates his father (Pierce Brosnan), a New York super lawyer, but is sympathetic towards his mother (Lena Olin) and loves his younger sister, Caroline (Ruby Jerins), beyond compare.

The time and place of the story is essential, and if you pay any kind of attention you can see all the clues that foreshadow the ending. Discounting how Remember Me ends, at least the romance and relationship scenes between Pattinson and de Ravin help to elevate the drama. Maybe it’s because there’s less shouting involved. The mood swings happen pretty regularly so be sure to pack a wad of cotton balls or earmuffs if you don’t want to hear Pattinson and Brosnan yelling at each other.

Remember Me is a way for Pattinson to flex those acting chops that have remained cold and stoic in the two Twilight movies so far. Right now he’s getting praise for his rebellious character even if it is a Xeroxed and crumpled copy of James Dean’s performance in Rebel Without a Cause. Pattinson is definitely the selling point of the film, while Pierce Brosnan and Chris Cooper are happy to collect paychecks. The romantic elements work, but the drama is unmemorable overall. It’s at a level that whenever there are future discussions about the movie it must be followed immediately with a question mark: Remember Me?

Director: Allen Coulter
Notable Cast: Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Chris Cooper, Lena Olin, Tate Ellington, Ruby Jerins, Pierce Brosnan
Writer(s): Will Fetters

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