We gave it a C
The pleasure of watching 86-year-old Christopher Plummer, moving his way through every single scene like the smooth old pro that he is, isn’t enough to boost this misguided melodrama from the once-fantastic Atom Egoyan, the Canadian filmmaker who loves to sink his teeth into stories about grief and memory. (He received Oscar nominations for adapting and directing 1997’s haunting The Sweet Hereafter, about how a school bus accident shatters a community, and his magnificent Exotica from 1995 is even an even better elegiac mood piece.) Remember, from an original screenplay by Benjamin August, is ostensibly right in Egoyan’s wheelhouse. A dementia-stricken nursing home resident named Zev (Plummer) is dispatched by his old-age buddy and fellow Holocaust survivor (Martin Landau) to find the clandestine Nazi (they’ve narrowed him down to one of four German men) who murdered both men’s families at Auschwitz.
But the beats of the plot are too madly implausible to treat seriously. A twisted helix of Memento and Munich without either of those film’s craft, depth, or thematic murkiness, Remember devolves into an inexplicable road trip in which we watch Zev pointedly confront the possible Nazis with the glock in his shaving kit. One visit to rural Idaho (admittedly a white supremacist hot spot, though the residents don’t speak with ridiculous Cajun accents as the movie depicts) is particularly disappointing, featuring a typecast Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) as the swastika-caressing son of a wannabe SS officer. And Egoyan, like a Canuck M. Night Shyamalan, can’t resist trying to trump his early career success with last-minute twists. The one that slams Remember shut sure is a whopper, but a pointless and perverted one. It spoils the plot’s feigned elegance while exposing its use of the Holocaust as nothing more than a cheap trick. Forget. C