Thursday, 13 March 2014
Remember Me (2010)
"What if I die eating my vindaloo?"
This drama, ironically half-forgotten, might be best known for starring Robert "Twilight" Pattinson in a proper film. And its theme- that we could all get run over by a bus tomorrow so, like, carpe diem and that- may be a bit of a truism with a "shock" ending which seems less and less clever with the benefit of hindsight. But this is actually a pretty good drama, well written and acted, and not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.
Death is ever present. We begin as Tyler's family gather round his late mother's grave, ten years after her meaningless death and, and we establish Tyler's fraught relationship with his stuffed shirt of a father, Charles, played against type by Pierce Brosnan. The film charts his romantic ups and downs with Ally, his death-obsessed on-again off-again girlfriend, his brother's recent suicide, the bullying of his sister Caroline and the comparison with his less angst-ridden friend, Aidan.
The film is full of signifiers. The opening scenes around the grave are grainy, full of muted colours and Tyler smokes, a sure sign of youthful rebellion, at least in 2001. (He's 21 but, this being the USA, he's only just started drinking, which seems bizarre to us decadent Europeans.)
His relationship with Ally is complicated by his getting off on the wrong foot with her police officer father, but the central theme is their date in an Indian restaurant (are they a thing in America, where is always thought Mexican food filled the same cultural space?), and her ideas of living for today. This means more than she imagined to Tyler, whose brother committed suicide following the same pressure from Charles to put the family business before music that Tyler is now feeling.
Things come to a crisis after Alyssa dumps Tyler, he clashes with his dad over his neglect of Caroline and, finally, the poor girl is horribly bullied. But Tyler's furious reaction this eventually leads to a rapprochement of sorts with his dad. It's a straightforward sounding plot but the script does a very good job of developing the characters.
I know the ending, with Tyler in the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001, has been criticised on grounds of taste, but I'd say this sort of reaction was somewhat kneejerk; it works in the context of the film, although it doesn't exactly achieve the pathos intended. This isn't a classic of cinematic drama by any means, but it's a good script performed well. It's well worth seeing.