REVIEW: Stars, Ending Make 'Remember Me' Palatable

I wanted to see “Remember Me” because of rumors surrounding lead actor Robert Pattinson. I get daily updates on all things James Bond (yes, I’m that much of a geek), and a couple months ago I started hearing that Pattinson wanted to play the infamous assassin. I was not pleased. Who was this young upstart vampire that thought he was good enough to play the ultimate leading man? Having avoided the Twilight films like the plague, this rumor drove me to see “Remember Me,” to judge for myself whether Pattinson could one day play the great James Bond.

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Set in the early 2000s, “Remember Me” chronicles the life of Tyler Hawkins (Pattinson), a foundering college student who smokes excessively and journals to his dead older brother. When he isn’t brooding, he’s spending time with his younger sister Caroline (Ruby Jerins) or chasing meaningless relationships with his roommate Aidan (Tate Ellington). Following a drunken fight, he mouths off to Police Sergeant Neil Craig (Chris Cooper) and winds up in jail. After his dad, Charles (Pierce Brosnan) bails him out, Aidan convinces Tyler to get back at Sergeant Craig through his daughter, a fellow student named Ally (Emilie de Ravin). But while the relationship starts as a dare, it quickly blossoms into something more. And as characters reveal their pasts it threatens to tear their young love apart.

Director Allen Coulter and cinematographer Jonathan Freeman have worked together in the past, and their visions click. Fade-outs are used a little too often, but other than that the film is well-shot and edited.

The film’s story and writing aren’t bad. Will Fetters wrote the screenplay after a confrontation of his own landed him in prison and ended his dreams of attending a top tier law school. But his own experience doesn’t flow into the confrontation with the power he intended. Instead, Patterson’s Tyler gets involved in the brawl without really showing why. And nothing in the character upholds Tyler as being the type of guy that would go out of his way to break up a fight. Another weakness is Ally and Tyler’s meeting, which is more awkward than cute, and left me wondering how they even got to date one, let alone moved beyond that.

Fetters’ strength lies in character quirks. Each character has some issue they can’t shake due to the tragedy in their lives. Ally won’t ride on the subway because she witnessed her mother’s murder at a subway station. Tyler smokes and writes to his brother excessively. Caroline daydreams. Both fathers deal with their grief in somewhat cliché manners, delving into work and alcohol, but based on the trauma that Fetters puts his characters through its acceptable. In addition, he lets action speak without adding unnecessary dialogue.

And there’s a lot of action. “Remember Me” is a violent, passionate film, with many characters lashing out physically from grief and anger. The film teetered on being melodramatic, after a dark beginning paints the characters in a pitiable rather than relatable light. Thankfully this changes in the end, as the film depicts events we can all relate to. The film’s ending should work for most late-teens, college students and recent graduates, who have grown up during the historical events it depicts.

The highlights for me were Brosnan as a distant father struggling to cope with the loss of his son, and Jerins as an adorable younger sister.

Despite the melodrama, the film has a lot of strong moments, and the dialogue and acting are solid. And scenes between Pattinson and Brosnan showed that while not worthy of the 007 title, the young star has ability. Rumors are now circulating about Sam Worthington as Bond, but unless his upcoming “Clash of the Titans” performance is better than the one he gave in “Avatar,” I’ll be dead set against him for the part. Why can’t more young upstarts be like Zac Efron and hope to play a Bond villain? That I could stomach.

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