At last – an intelligent romantic drama
You have to give credit to a film which starts powerfully and grabs you by the eyeballs. That’s certainly the case here. A dramatic sequence with striking camera angles and lighting makes an instant impression and sets the mood for this gritty romance about two dysfunctional families. Aided by strong acting and an intelligent script, Remember Me is a cut above most romantic films.
Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson) a rebel looking for a cause has a difficult relationship with his estranged high flying father (Pierce Brosnan). Street-hardened cop Sgt. Neil Craig’s (Chris Cooper) wife was shot dead by hoodlums in front of his young daughter ten years previously. Craig in recent times has become over protective.
When Tyler and his best mate Aidan (Tate Ellington) get involved in a street brawl they’re arrested by Craig. By coincidence, Craigs’s daughter Ally (Emilie de Ravin) attends the same college as Tyler and he’s encouraged by Aidan to make out with her in order to get back at the rough handling he experienced from her dad. In a sub-plot, Tyler’s young sister Caroline (Ruby Jerins), something of a romantic dreamer, is set upon at a party. Tyler is outraged by this and his father’s apparent indifference to Caroline’s success as a budding artist.
Tyler and Ally actually fall in love but their happiness is short-lived as family pressures and secrets create an untenable situation threatening their relationship. Things are suddenly brought to a head in an unexpected and devastating conclusion; the moral being to make the most of every day.
Director Allen Coulter, whose previous feature was Hollywoodland as well as episodes of The Sopranos, lovingly crafts a picture of New York at in important time in its history. He’s clearly comfortable with his actors and gains excellent performances. Credit must go to Will Fetters’ script with its layers of meaning and convincing dialogue. Cinematography makes use of colour to suit the mood, with impressive camerawork.
At the risk of getting abusive mail, I have to confess I’m not a great fan of Robert Pattinson (Twilight) in his limp vampire outings. He’s on his mettle here, with a touch of the young Marlon Brando and a sense of being real. You should applaud a good performance as this one deserves. His intimate scenes with the curvaceous Emilie de Ravin (Public Enemies) have that elusive electric tingle, their lovemaking captured sympathetically rather than bordering on the pornographic. The shower sequence is a good example. They make one of the screen’s more pleasing romantic couplings.
Chris Cooper (The Kingdom) puts in a sensitive performance with depth as the tough but heartbroken cop. This reliable actor seems to fall into roles that suit him. It’s good to see Pierce Brosnan (Mamma Mia!) in serious mode for a change, doing much to confirm his status as a fine actor. A surprise packet is young Ruby Jerins (Shutter Island) as Caroline, she’s just a charmer and steals her scenes right out from under her co-stars. Tate Ellington (The Invention of Lying) provides a level of comic relief as Tyler’s close friend, while Lena Olin (The Reader) emotionally captures his grieving mother who lost her other son to suicide.
Remember Me may remembered after other romantic movies are forgotten for its compelling performances and intriguing script. It certainly surprised this reviewer, as I was expecting much less. Be warned – the shock twist at the end is a gut punch.