Rememory (2017) Review
Emotional and thought-provoking drama about reliving memories.
Rememory is a 2017 drama about a man with a troubled past who stumbles upon the invention of a man who has died under curious circumstances and uses it solve a mystery.
For most of us, the possibility of being able to access every memory we’ve ever had would be pretty hard to pass up yet once you could, what might you do with them, or worse yet, what might someone else do with them if they got them? Such is the premise in Mark Palansky‘s latest little crime thriller Rememory, a genuinely intriguing caper with some fresh ideas that don’t always play by conventions.
Sam Bloom (Peter Dinklage) is an architectural-model builder who suffers under the burden of a dark past, having been the driver in a car accident years earlier that took his rock star brother’s life. Naturally, it’s left him riddled with guilt but what’s worse is the lost memory of something his brother said as he lay dying in Sam’s arms. This draws him to the news of Gordon Dunn’s (Martin Donovan) newest invention, a device that can record a person’s memories, so he attends a lecture and sees the results, but that night, Dunn ends up dead under some very suspicious circumstances even though it appears to be natural causes. As the mystery unfolds, Sam decides to steal the device and do some digging on his own, hoping to use the machine to clear his past while learning what really happened to Dunn, though others are closing in.
Rememory is not what is sounds like and steadfastly refuses to play up to the sci-fi expectations the premise seems built for. This is not a big action thriller but rather an emotional noir-ish detective mystery centered on investigation over visual effects-driven set pieces and at the heart is Bloom who is a smart and insightful gumshoe type that with the device would make for a great television series. He takes on different personas and knows how to manipulate those he talks with, earning trust, but most clever is his model-making where he recreates images and scenario in detailed mini-scale. It’s a pretty ingenious way to tell a story. Dinklage makes him his own and carries the film with ease in a powerfully sentimental performance.
The film is complex, layered with a number of characters who reveal that having total recall – if you’ll forgive the wording – is not such a good thing. These include Wendy (Evelyne Brochu), a troubled, suicidal woman and Todd (Anton Yelchin), a mechanic who was witness to something traumatic he wants no longer to relive over and over. That’s what we come to find out, that the use of the machine has a disturbing side effect, one that Sam is coming all too familiar with. Julia Ormond plays Dunn’s widow and her exchanges with Sam, who is not always truthful with her, make for some of the best in the film.
Rememory is a tense thriller, even as it is mostly a dialogue-driven film with very little action. That’s a testament of how well the film is written (Mark Palansky co-wrote the story with Mike Vukadinovich), as it abandons the trappings of the genre and instead makes it a character-centered story, and there are plenty of them, making things twisty. Palansky builds a remarkable amount of tension that dabbles pretty effectively with the psychological as it props up the mystery. The numerous clips that run in random order as we explore people’s memories are some of the more emotional moments in the movie, and really help to anchor the story. The lessons here are pretty clear, however that never really is the point as the movie is much more about the deconstruction and value of memories than the takeaway. An intelligent, thought-provoking experience, this is an easy recommendation.
Rememory (2017) Review
Movie description: Rememory is a 2017 drama about a man with a troubled past who stumbles upon the invention of a man who has died under curious circumstances and uses it solve a mystery
Director(s): Mark Palansky
Actor(s): Peter Dinklage, Anton Yelchin, Julia Ormond