Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Remember Me

Aloha strangers, today we have the film Remember Me on the motician's table for Dr Dude's thorough dissection. By all means, the subject before me on the outside is a rather sickening prospect. For starters, it is a film from the origin of my least favourite film genre, that of romance films. As much as I try to be the most neutral and objective critic I possibly can be, sometimes one cannot help but let their personal viewpoints cloud their judgement of a film. Romance films are for the most part the most lame and base of films, predictable beyond belief and positively tacky. Well, at least this comes from the romantic-drama sub-genre and not my personal bane of rom-coms, whose gags are often so forced it's as though the actors are being threatened with sodomy if they do not comply. Also, marketing on this film is completely on the basis of the presence of Robert Pattinson as the films lead. Showing R-Patz (I really have to stop calling him this, he must absolutely hate it) in all his pride and glory as the films hook line and sinker is destined for gold with the marketing boys. To be fair though, if I thought in terms of The Almighty Dollar, I'd probably cast Pattinson as the lead in every film I had in production, because right now he is box-office gold. He could star in an incredibly dark and detailed biopic of Jeffrey Dahmer and still manage to get people into the cinemas (particularly teenage girls). However, despite the smiles on the posters here, it is obvious from the context of the film's plot and his character (and his portrayal of the character) that Pattinson is attempting to branch out his acting palette. In Remember Me, Pattinson plays Tyler Hawkins, a moody Holden Caulfield type, who is auditing classes at NYU, whose relationship with his father, played by Pierce Brosnan is strained but shares a strong bond with his younger sister Caroline, played by Ruby Jerins. After a night out with his roommate Aidan, played by Tate Ellington, he is arrested by Neil, played by Chris Cooper. The two then find out that Neil's daughter Ally is in Tyler's class at NYU and Tyler is persuaded by Aidan to date her on the basis of sleeping with her and dumping her. However, as ever in these films, love blossoms in light of all this, and really for the most part, you can guess the ongoing plot and tensions from this. To start with the good about the film, a number of the performances are pretty good. Pattinson delivers what I feel to be the best performance of his career thus far, creating a believable and sympathetic character out of Tyler who would otherwise be thought of by me as a dislikeable berk who is a big sulk. However, Pattinson does add a depth to this character, who becomes interesting to the audience, and we do wish to find out more about him. Also, Emilie de Ravin delivers a good performance as Ally. She is very endearing and charming in the part, and greatly complements Pattinson, both of whom together create a believable romance for the audience despite numerous aspects of the film going against it. Chris Cooper too is good in the film, although unfortunately he does not have much to do in the film, or time to fully create a three-dimensional character. However, Pierce Brosnan plays Charles, Tyler's businessman father, really well. Delivering a really fabulous supporting performance, Brosnan shines as a great example of what acting is meant to be on camera. Despite having not having a major amount of screen time, the screen time he does spend creates a presence that lingers on throughout the film. Whenever his character is onscreen, you can cut the tension between him and Tyler with a knife. Here is a man who is completely blind to the needs of his children emotionally in his attempts to provide financially for them. Brosnan portrays all of these aspects of the character really well, and delivers a fine performance which is on my shortlist for supporting roles come year end awards. Also, the film's score/soundtrack by Marcelo Zarvos is great, doing a fine job of heightening the emotion of the film. Furthermore, what makes the score so much better, is that despite the fact it uses orchestral stuff and piano parts that often disconnect me from the emotion of the film, it seems to fit and work really well in the context of this film. His work really does so much for a film which is truly in need of emotional heightening. Also, Jonathan Freeman's cinematography is crisp and dazzling, knowing exactly when are where to light a scene. It has a distinct look to without overdoing things and feeling too "film" in it's mood, managing to maintain a certain degree of realism appropriate for the drama. What I do have to ask regarding the film though, and this question is pivotal to the understanding of the film, is how the heck you can have such a good second half of a film and such a really poor first half. It's easy to perhaps blame the script, which is by all means nuts-and-bolts and does not really do anything special, but in the second act, despite these obvious predictabilities and the plot merely going through the motions, it seems so much better than it is. Now, I know that the first half involves set up for the actions to occur later in the plot, but just because it is set up doesn't neccessarily make it any less riveting or entertaining. However, the first half of the film is really boring and yeah, I was only up about half-an-hour and eating breakfast, but I generally seem to get something if it's working, regardless of my relatively recent waking from slumber. Instead, I was completely bored and to be fair felt the sleepy eyes coming on. It was positively devoid of much to keep me wanting to watch the film, and I found myself looking at the time elasped in the film on muliple occasions. You can almost measure a great film on the basis of how early you first look at time elapsed. With The Seventh Seal, granted, one of the greatest films ever made, I went nearly an hour, and that is a less than hour-and-a-half film, so I had nearly went two whole acts without looking at the time. With Remember Me, I made it about six, and was for the first half of the movie, essentially looking at time elapsed virtually every six minutes after. However, it seemed to change into a completely different film in terms of overally quality out of nowhere. Yes, plot points were coming in thick and fast, but really a film should be well-balance and have a degree of consistency. There is no excuse to call your movie a really great movie if the final half, the one we end on, on which I ended on a good note, is significantly better than the first. Just to have a couple of final words, the film has generated some attention due to its twist. Some have called it, as consensus says on Rotten Tomatoes "borderline offensive." Personally, I didn't see what was so offensive regarding the twist, and to be fair, I'd be more incline to agree with Roger Ebert that it does succeed "only in upstaging itself so overwhelmingly that its charactersbecome irrelevant." Even still, I don't completely agree with this, for I still was hit by the power of it, even it was completely left-of-field. In conclusion, while Remember Me is certainly an hour of a really good film, it is also half of a really bad film, and as such, despite its stronger points, must be judged on this basis.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 5.6/10

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnosis - Inbetweenies

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