Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Remember (2015)

Remember has the basic elements for a comedy if only Christopher Plummer didn’t look so feeble. A man hunting another man, problem is the hunter is afflicted with dementia. It’s like 50 First Dates in a retirement home only that the hunter does not recall love everyday but revenge.

Plummer plays Zev Guttman a survivor of Auschwitz and afflicted with dementia. His wife has just died but his mind does not maintain solid grasp of this sad reality. 


Through the help of Max Rosenbaum’s (Martin Landau), Zev escapes the retirement home for a manhunt. He reads Max’s letters everyday just to keep on track with his hunt for the Blockführer that took his family.  Just so the story isn’t so simple he had to go through 4 Rudy Kurlanders to find the one Nazi that he wanted.

I didn’t get the year in the story but being in a retirement home; with dementia; holocaust victims already at the twilight of their life; the story reminds me of a quote by Lord Varys in Game of Thrones

“I have no doubt the revenge you want will be yours in time, if you have the stomach for it.”

I never took Varys seriously especially compared with Little Finger until I had a taste of his mind in that scene with Tyrion Lannister and with that quote. After years and years of careful planning Varys had gotten his revenge and he does not doubt the same of Tyrion. Imagine the sheer determination and hatred to focus even after years.

For Remember it has been fifty to eighty years after the war when the protagonists have seen their family die.  I can imagine how a survivor could dream of revenge every single day. To see it possibly come to fruition even with an old man built some sense of anticipation. This is not the typical revenge story. Not even the Count of Monte Cristo waited this long.

Zev Guttman has lived a full life. He has grandchildren. He’s no longer in a condition to give chase much less be capable of running away should things go bad.  The most interesting of all is that he has dementia. If he keeps forgetting what fuels him then?

The image of an old man with dementia was indeed what the filmmakers were aiming for in showing the folly of hanging on to hatred even after so long. Zev was searching among 4 people under the same name. As expected there are a lot of misses and these scenes made him look less than an ideal killer.

When that happens I am divided. Sure it would be nice to see that his long wait would have a positive outcome, on the other hand, he has lived so long without thought of revenge why not live his life entirely without it?

Remember ended in a way that I surprisingly never had imagined. I never saw it coming and I asked myself why. The answer was that I was always reminded to hate. This movie is all worth it. Remember that.

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