Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, Dean Norris, Bruno Ganz, Henry Czerny, Jürgen Prochnow, James Cade, Peter DaCunha, Heinz Lieven, Sofia Wells, Jane Spidell, Stefani Kimber, Kim Roberts, Amanda Smith, Natalie Krill
Written by: Benjamin August
Directed by: Atom Egoyan
MPAA Rating: R for a sequence of violence and language
Running Time: 95
Date: 02/12/2016
IMDB

Remember (2016)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Concentration

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Canadian director Atom Egoyan offers his best work in ages with this quietly observant drama. Paying special attention to sounds, places, and tones, the movie turns unexpectedly moving and powerful. Remember recalls Egoyan's best films, Exotica, Felicia's Journey, and the Oscar-nominated The Sweet Hereafter; like those, it's an exploration of unsettling things simmering under the surface. A lesser director could have played this like a cheap thriller, with more suspense, but Egoyan explores the deeper meanings of things.

In an assisted living community, Zev (Christopher Plummer) has just lost his wife, and his memory has been failing. Fellow resident Max (Martin Landau), who is wheelchair bound and dependent on an oxygen tank, reminds him of a plan that they have concocted together. Since both are survivors of a concentration camp in Auschwitz, Max has researched the possible location one particular Nazi guard, and Zev will go out, purchase a gun, and kill him. Each time Zev sleeps, he must re-read a letter from Max to jog his memory. Zev's journey includes a few false alarms, and things take a perilous turn when he meets a hateful Neo-Nazi (Dean Norris), but nothing can prepare him for what's in store when he finally finds his man.

The mood here is incredibly vivid. The noises of a train station, or a pause at a passport checkpoint, creates a strange chill, while the sounds of a nearby demolition site, accompanied by a barking dog, causes tense agitation. Yet as the story unfolds, Egoyan gives us plenty to think about, from the plight of a homosexual German to the various motivations and justifications of the guards, without preaching, showing gruesome flashbacks, or making his points too obvious.

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