Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Remember Me (2010)

Greetings from the dark.

Most people think I am too soft when it comes to movies. I like movies too easily; over glorify their strengths and underplay their weaknesses. However, when it comes to movies, my theory is this. Each movie carries with it certain expectations: these expectations may arise at the time of promotion or even while watching the movie as you realise you are watching something potentially worth your time. Also, expectations are not a question of how much you expect but also what you expect. As in, from Prince of Persia, I expect a non-serious fun outing whereas from Raajneeti, I want a movie that has a fair amount of thought going into it. Hence, there are movies I watch with very few expectations and come out surprised (like say, The Karate Kid) or where I watch with high expectations which are largely met (like My Name Is Khan and Ishqiya). The movies I do not like are the ones where my expectations aren't met and the ones I hate are those where these expectations are built up during the film and dashed badly some way down the line. Remember Me falls in this last category.

Remember Me is the story of two New Yorkers. We have Tyler (Robert Pattinson), a caring, charming man who has lost his way in the wake of his brother's suicide. He struggles to deal with his over-emotional mother and his overbearing father (Pierce Brosnan). The only person he really cares for is his little sister. Then there is Ally (Emilie De Ravin) who has never used the subway since her mother was murdered before her eyes there 10 years ago. Her father (Chris Cooper) is overprotective and controlling. Together, they take a chance with each other and what starts out as a beautiful relationship soon gets into troubled waters as each person's baggage comes in the way.

I watched the movie with very few expectations. Despite the bad mouthing by some of the critics, what drew me in was the premise. The trailer made the film look like a fairly promising drama. As I saw the film, I was pleasantly surprised by everything. Although the characters were well sketched out, believable and ones I could even care for. The performances were also surprisingly effective. Although Pattinson took time to settle into the character, he is highly likable as the awkward and detached Tyler. Emilie De Ravin also shines as Ally. Ruby Jerins who plays the little sister is also well cast; with a character that is more than a mere filler and is genuinely interesting and believable. Pierce Brosnan is superb in his confrontation scene with Pattinson in the Board Room. Chris Cooper is wasted though in a small(ish) role. However, that is still a relatively minor fault compared to the rest of the film which seemed to be progressing reasonably well.

Then the climax came. I have seriously never been more offended by a film's conclusion. In one swoop, the characters become irrelevant and the director loses any of the intimacy that the story had in favour of making a larger point, which he fails at miserably as well. The end is absolutely pathetic and not only destroys the film but also insults your intelligence. It is completely unnecessary and seriously overreaching. In my mind, as the climax unfolded I went, "You've got to be kidding me." But the writer and director clearly seem to have thought otherwise. Without giving much away, it's as bad as the fake heaven scene in Delhi-6 between Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan. Enough said.

All in all, Remember Me could have been something special. It had the potential to be memorable and was interesting almost throughout before that wretched climax. When the rest of the movie is seen as leading up to that conclusion, it appears positively sillier, idiotic and more and more like a terribly squandered opportunity. The well drawn characters seem irrelevant and the solid performances seem wasted. This is one of the most disappointing films I have seen in recent times.

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