Allen Coulter's Remember Me
Here's the link to the published version of the review in my column at The Richmond Examiner:
Remember Me (2010)
What struck me most after watching "Remember Me" was just how one-note the whole film felt. The entire film casts a feeling of doom and gloom that is inescapable from scene to scene, always present, never lifting, even in the most joyous of moments. That probably explains why Robert Pattinson was attracted to the material. He's used to such a tone.
The story begins in 1991 as Ally Craig (Caitlyn Rund, later played by Emilie de Ravin) watches her mother get mugged and murdered in a New York subway. Ten years later, we meet Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson), a young man who goes to college despite not being enrolled, lives with a roommate, Aidan (Tate Ellington), and has a job at a library. After a night of drinking, Tyler attempts to stop a fight and ends up nearly getting arrested. The cop who shows up just happens to be Neil Craig (Chris Cooper), Ally's father. He lets Tyler go with a warning, but Tyler becomes frustrated when Neil doesn't seem to care who started the fight. This leads to him mouthing off and ends with a trip to jail.
Later, Aidan notices that Ally is Neil's daughter and tells Tyler that he should go introduce himself to her with the intention of dumping her eventually to get back at Neil. Tyler does introduce himself, but ends up falling in love with her. He eventually introduces her to his family including his mother, Diane (Lena Olin), father, Charles (Pierce Brosnan), and sister, Caroline (Ruby Jerins). Things seem to be going alright for Tyler, but with that ever-present feeling of doom, you know things aren't going to stay that way.
I suppose the thought behind casting Pattinson was the hope that the fans of the "Twilight" films would come flocking to see it. Unfortunately for the filmmakers, that didn't happen, despite the fact that Pattinson is playing a very similar character to that of Edward, his vampire alter-ego. Tyler is constantly brooding and full of angst, but the main difference between the two characters is that he is free to emote with Tyler, and actually has a handful of decent scenes in which he does so.
His best scenes come when his character is interacting with his little sister. You actually get the feeling that there is a real bond there, especially in a scene late in the film when he can't stand that she is being picked on. If only he wasn't forced to play the character like there was a raincloud over his head, then there might have been room for development, but sadly, the doom and gloom tone never allows him to get very far.
There are some good supporting performances from the cast. Pierce Brosnan has only a few scenes in which we get to see how Tyler interacts with his father. He is a businessman who doesn't exactly get along well with his son, and holds meetings to be more important than attending his daughter's art exhibit. Emilie de Ravin does a good job as Tyler's love interest, not taking to him right away, but allowing the relationship to progress naturally.
What most people have been talking about when it comes to this film, however, is the questionable ending, and it's easy to see why. The filmmakers chose to use a tragic event as a plot device, and for what purpose? What was the point of doing so? There was no natural reason as to why the film had to end like that, unless they were simply hoping to up its emotional impact, which is an incredibly petty reason.
This film had not really been recommendable up to that point in the first place due to its overly-done one-note tone of gloom, but it had at least tried to create interesting characters. The shamelessly exploitative ending simply knocks it down another peg, ironically turning "Remember Me" into a film that will fade from memory pretty quickly. 2/4 stars.
Allen Coulter directed some of the best episodes of two of the best TV shows of all time - and that's quite an achievement. He worked on both Six Feet Under ("Crossroads") and The Sopranos ("College" among others, which is considered by many to be one of if not THE best episode of the series), and he's also directed excellent eps of Sex and the City, Rome, and some other shows.
And then he goes and does this crap. What the FUCK, man? Why is it that awesome TV actors like John Hamm and stuff can only get crap roles in movies - and the same for excellent TV directors? It's such a ridiculous separation.
I read that as Ann Coulter. :rolleyes:
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