By Clint Morris
If ”Twilight” is Robert Pattinson’s ride in first class – the smooth, painless jaunt with slightly-prettier views and largely grime-free surroundings, then ”Remember Me” is the British heartthrob’s excursion in Coach – a slightly cheaper, not quite as cushy and slightly bumpier ride without the views and continuous pop music playing from surrounding speakers.
But as most usually discover when they ride coach, it’s a lot more memorable a trip, and even more so, you’re usually surrounded by great people you’ll possibly never forget (in my case, I met one of my longest friends riding on a bus when I was about 14). And I tell ya, you won’t soon forget the people or the plot of the terrific ”Remember Me” either.
No offense to ”Twilight” or its sequels (in fact, I’ve found the films perfectly entertaining), but a scene from any of the flicks isn’t something an artiste would ever likely attach as a wmv file to their email application to Julliard. Perfectly OK film, but its more style over substance, and quite frankly, there’s nothing much for its stars to do but frown, gaze, eyeball or whimper. As a consequence, we haven’t really seen whether or not Robert ‘good guy vampire Edward’ Pattinson has what it takes as an actor (considering he does more sparkling than performing in the latter films). We know he’s got perfect hair, and he’s definitely got enough charisma on-screen and off to convincingly win over his leading lady, but is the young Brit capable of delivering a performance that’d make those decrepit wrinkled film fans at the Kodak theatre sit up and take notice?
We now have the answer. And, it’s Yes.
Pattinson’s turn as the forlorn, love-struck and appreciably human Tyler in ”Remember Me” is the role that’ll turn the young actor from a movie star to an ‘actor’.
Tyler’s your typical troubled youth. Having his lost older brother a few years before, which in turn has consequently pushed his bigwig father (Pierce Brosnan) even further away than he already was, he’s a bit lost, and seemingly convinced nobody knows what he’s going through. That’s until he meets Ally (Emilie de Ravin), a young girl with just as many horrors in her past, not to mention father problems of her own. Together, Tyler and Ally find happiness and a reason to carry on.
There’s a black cloud hanging over the relationship though. Unbeknownst to Ally, Tyler knows her father, and their coming together had nothing to do with chance. The stern New York Police Detective (Chris Cooper) had arrested him not long before. And it was only when Tyler and his roommate (Tate Ellington) discovered Ally was the officer’s daughter did they decide to approach her.
Directed by Allen Coulter (”Hollywoodland”) and written by Will Fetters, this highly-emotional journey is all meat. Here, you’ll witness not only fine performances, but be immersed in a story that not only captives, but touches, teaches and quite possibly, makes us a better person as a result. It really is, quite the package.
The romance at the centre of the film, performed brilliantly and credibly by Pattinson and ”Lost” star de Ravin, is one of the rawest, realest and most unforced couplings in recent years. It works brilliantly. There’s more fantastical about it at all – thus, you honestly believe they’re a true-blue couple.
Just as credible is the relationship between Pattinson and on-screen father Pierce Brosnan – it plays far more valid than most on-screen father-and-son duos, with the former 007 giving an especially grounded but welcomingly more multifarious take on an armour-clad father, hell-bent on not exposing his real emotions.
And speaking of memorable performances, young Ruby Jerins, playing Tyler’s inhibited and bullied sister, gives one that’ll hopefully catch the attention of the award voters early 2011.
Many will talk of the film’s shock ending, which quite frankly seems to come out of nowhere, as brilliant an idea as it may be, but that hopefully won’t overshadow the fine film that’s played out up til then.
”Remember Me” is the first great film of 2010.
Two commentaries and a featurette. Modest but ample offering.