"Dark Tale of Revenge"
What You Need To Know:
Christopher Plummer delivers an excellent performance as the frail and forgetful Zev. He expertly navigates the complex emotional roller coaster of constantly re-learning for the first time that his wife is dead, remembering his mission and becoming focused once more on the task ahead. Except for a fascinating final twist and a couple tender moments, the whole movie is a crawling, dark, depressing revenge story, with no themes of faith, hope or redemption. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for REMEMBER.
(PaPa, B, ACAC, LL, VVV, N, A, MM) Strong pagan worldview with some moral elements and sentiments against National Socialism, centered on an elderly Holocaust survivor whose sole motivation is revenge against the Nazi who murdered his family, multiple glimpses and instances of Jewish ceremony and tradition, but no mention of God or faith, recurring themes of grief and loss as the protagonist struggles with dementia and constantly re-learning that his recently deceased wife is dead; brief upper elderly male nudity in a bathtub; 22 obscenities and profanities, a racial slur, protagonist urinates on himself in fear; brief but intense sequences of graphic violence as antagonist sets his angry dog on protagonist, protagonist shoots and kills dog, another shooting with graphic blood and gore, images of dead body; light alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, lying, manipulation, racism, smuggling, and an overall theme of revenge.
REMEMBER is a drama about an elderly Holocaust survivor whose sole motivation is revenge against the Nazi who murdered his family. Except for a fascinating final twist and a couple tender moments, REMEMBER is a dark, depressing revenge story, with few moments of faith, hope or redemption.
Zev Gutman, a 90-year-old Jewish Holocaust survivor wakes from sleep in his assisted living apartment and slowly comes to the realization that his wife is dead. He also realizes it’s time to carry out the deed he vowed to accomplish after she was gone. Max, a fellow resident and Holocaust survivor, has spent years tracking down former Nazis and bringing them to justice. Max has now caught wind of the whereabouts of none other than the SS officer responsible for the deaths of both of their families at Auschwitz nearly 70 years ago. The former SS officer has assumed the false identity of Rudy Kurlander, and is currently living somewhere in the United States.
The obstacles Zev and Max face in finding Rudy are simple. Max is wheelchair bound, and Zev has dementia. Also, four German citizens emigrated to the US 70 years ago and assumed the name Rudy Kurlander, any of whom could be the man they’re after.
As a solution, Max writes out a meticulously crafted plan in a handwritten letter he gives to Zev. The letter charts the course Zev must take on his own, including bus times and routes, hotel arrangements, several hundred dollars in cash, where to purchase a gun, and a daily reminder of recent events, and what Zev himself is doing, to combat his deteriorating memory. Equipped with nothing but Max’s written instructions and a handgun in a medicine bag, Zev sets out on a quest for vengeance.
Christopher Plummer delivers an excellent performance and flawless accent as the frail and forgetful Zev. He expertly navigates the complex emotional rapids of constantly re-learning for the first time that his wife is dead, remembering his mission and where he’s going, and becoming focused once more on the task ahead. The mood established by the atmosphere of the movie is tense and uncomfortable, as if the story itself has dementia and can’t remember what it’s supposed to be. If this is done intentionally, bravo, it works. Otherwise, the unsettling score and slow, almost mundane style of cinematography throughout most of the movie prove a bit distracting.
The only reason for the movie’s R rating comes in th4e middle and lasts for about half a scene. The profanities and obscenities and intense violence of the entire movie are packed into these five minutes, which seem oddly out of place with the tone the movie has establishes in the rest of its narrative. The movie’s violence tarnishes the somewhat elderly tenderness the movie establishes previously in Zev’s character. Except for an unexpectedly fascinating twist at the end and a couple tender moments, the whole movie is a crawling, dark, depressing revenge story, with no themes of faith or hope or redemption. Extreme caution is advised for REMEMBER.