Director: Mark Palansky
Starring. Peter Dinklage, Anton Yelchin, UK. 1h 31m.
This is stunning film with some haunting scenes, which linger in the memory but alas by the ending credits I felt as if something was missing from this well-crafted venture that took away the re-watch-ability.
Peter Dinklage brings an amazing character to life in this deep vibrant story. After having a few too many drinks he drives his brother home but the pair crash, leaving him as the sole survivor, his brother mumbles some words which he can’t make out and then he dies. But Sam (Dinklage) isn’t ready to accept that’s the end and writes to a brilliant scientist, Gordon Dunn (Donovan) who has invented a machine, that re plays your memories, apparently we all have the ability to remember everything but not the ability to recall it. This Rememory machine is able to get into a person’s brain and recall everything from our first moment on the planet. It sounds wonderful and Sam sees this as a chance to work out what his brother way trying to say, but one fateful night after a disgruntled ex-patient visits, the scientist is found dead, supposedly of natural causes but there are bullet holes in the wall, was it murder or an aneurysm as the newspapers reported. The machine cannot be found or reversed engineered as Dunn kept everything secret. While his employers stress over losing the invention of a lifetime, ???? uses the stolen machine to find out what happened to Dunn and digs into his own forgotten memories.
It was shocking to see Yelchin appear as the PSTD-eqsue disgruntled patient who threatens the doctor before his death, I thought that maybe there was a Yelchin lookalike back in Hollywood before I realised it was him, I assume this is his last film?
The high-concept premises of the story is incredibly inviting, with this new-fangled, the story possibilities are endless, but alas it’s kept constrained and there’s little room for fun and exploration. Dinklage does his fair share of sleuthing but rarely comes up with and exciting chases and information is easily parted with him. At times It’s easy to assume that the concept is so grand that the viewer might be missing something but looking back this tantalising ideas is just flattened. Sam drifts from one encounter to the next without making huge revelations, but you need to watch until the end to find out the conclusion but this becomes a struggle, not for the lack of trying, Palansky has crafted a beautiful film, with some unique modern settings, the camera pans along a nouveau chic landscape. As Sam picks up new information and begins to unravel the murder eliminating potential killers and ascertaining more about what happened after his car crash there is very little satisfaction, usually when a sleuth finds a clue, there is some uplift.
Sam’s first port of call is Dunns widow who he befriends, the distraught woman who has secluded herself away from the world after her husband’s death and who’s aware of his potential affair, and without trying to give away the plot, the confrontation between the wife and mistress was like meeting a stranger on the street and doing them a favour, there was no passion or heat in their “showdown” but this is exactly how the whole film carries on.
It’s a little sad to see that his remarkable machine only creates misery, suicide and depression, none of the plus sides are explored, stick it on a potato and see if they dream, find out what your hamster really remembers, do something odd with it!! I really loved the look and feel of Rememory, the one haunting feature is that the memories carry on after the machine is removed, Widow Dunn remembers blowing bubbles at a birthday party and the continue to float in the room after the removes the machine, Sam spends a lot of time regressing his memories and his dead brother often talks to him moments after removing the headset, I was hoping this was a sign that this sublime drama might turn into a bit of a horror, and much like An American Werewolf in London (1981) the dead could live again.. but one of the messages in the film is that we are simply memories, and they define us, and you don’t want to know what happens when we have none, it could have been more but this creative idea quickly becomes a little lifeless.
R – The Discovery (2017), Upstream Color (2013), Creative Control (2015), In Bruges (2008), Still Alice (2014), Memento (2000),
L – Memory Films, Modern Murder Mysteries,
A – Why does memory mean so much to film makers..