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Remember (2015)

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Summary

With the aid of a fellow Auschwitz survivor and a hand-written letter, an elderly man with dementia goes in search of the person responsible for the death of his family.

Genre : Thriller/Drama
Country : Canada/Mexico/Germany

Cast :
Christopher Plummer : Zev Guttman
Martin Landau : Max Rosenbaum
Dean Norris : John Kurlander

Director :
Atom Egoyan

My opinion on “Remember”

“Yes, I must finish.
I must.
After all, this is the man who killed our families.”

Remember” is a movie you should know as little as possible about before watching it. So I’m not going to tell too much. This drama, which gradually turns into a thriller, shows how the 86-year-old Jewish man Zev (Christopher Plummer) is searching throughout America and Canada for a former Nazi officer who was a blockführer in Auschwitz. Zev’s friend Max Rosenbaum (Martin Landau), who’s staying in the same rest-house, discovered with the use of old documents that certain SS officers escaped by stealing the identity of killed Jews. Zev is being sent to seek a certain Rudy Kurlander and kill him. And this as a revenge because he’s responsible for the death of Zev’s and Max’s family. Unfortunately, Zev has to be reminded of this because he’s in an advanced stage of the dementing illness Alzheimer.

What a surprising denouement.

The film thus shows mostly Zev searching for this person. Armed with a Glock and a handwritten letter from Max, he pays a visit to every Rudy Kurlander who’s currently living in the U.S. And Canada. The letter is his guide because everytime he awakes, he has no idea where he is and why he’s there. He even forgets about the death of his wife Ruth. Hence the note with a pen on his arm to remind him to read the letter over and over again. “Remember” is captivating. “Remember” is thrilling. But “Remember” is also a moving movie. A film about people who have to deal with a trauma. How they need to carry an intense sadness. And the deeply rooted feelings of revenge. And I must say that the denouement is one that will stay in your mind for a long time. The only thing I could say was “No way!“. It’s been a long time since I couldn’t predict the ending of a movie. It took me by surprise this time. Trust me, you’ll remember the end forever.

Brilliant actor!

Needless to say that Christopher Plummer’s acting was sublime. A scarred, elderly person who tries to do the job faultless as assigned to him. Zev isn’t only scarred by his past, but also by the present because of the loss of someone dear and a memory-consuming disease. The desperation and helplessness Plummer displays is lifelike at times. The encounter with John Kurlander (Dean Norris who’s the spitting image of Jack Nicholson) is a masterful scene with an excellent acting Plummer. You feel pity for Zev who suffers a moment of outright fear. After this scene the movie changes from a diligent search into a ruthless thriller.


Luckily it’s no “Sound of Music”

Despite his age, this star still knows to touch a nerve. More than when he played the well-known Captain von Trapp in “The sound of Music“. A movie that makes me sick to my stomach as if I ate a poorly baked Wiener Schnitzel. The film is always shown on television around Christmas and New Years eve. Probably to worsen the hangover. Still find it strange I didn’t recognize him immediately. The last time I saw Plummer was in “The Forger“. But that part wasn’t so memorable. Here the staggering and surprising end will leave a lasting impression. An absolute recommended movie.

My rating 7/10
Links : IMDB

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HORROR

LFF 2020 Review: Possessor

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London Film Festival is almost over and there’s been a lot of good stuff over the last couple of weeks. The 64th BFI London Film Festival has been all across the UK, inviting you to experience the world’s best new films wherever you are. Twelve days of UK premieres available to enjoy online via BFI Player or in cinemas at BFI Southbank, around London, and throughout the UK.

Possessor (also known as Possessor: Uncut) is the latest film from Brandon Cronenberg, son of David Cronenberg, who’s known by horror enthusiasts as the king of body horror. Brandon has clearly learnt from the best as could be seen from his 2012 debut film Antiviral starring Caleb Landry Jones. Brandon’s second feature film, Possessor premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January and was released in America and Canada on October 2nd. I managed to catch an early preview of it at London Film Festival before it’s UK release at the end of November.

The film follows Andrea Riseborough’s Tasya Vos, an agent who inhabits other people’s bodies through a new technology and in doing so she commits assassinations to benefit her company. But slowly she starts to lose control over the system and finds herself trapped in the mind of Christopher Abbott’s Colin when trying to kill his father (Sean Bean).

Right from the start Possessor is a very gruesome and gory film. It opens with a very brutal and bloody killing that throws us straight into the futuristic world of the film. If the name Cronenberg on the poster didn’t already tell you, within minutes, we know that this film is not going to be one for the faint-hearted. The premise of the film is a little over the top, with the whole idea of inhabiting other people’s bodies and being able to control them. But it’s one that Cronenberg handles with ease and skill. As well as gore.

The film is disturbing but it’s carried out in a stylish manner so that it never really feels too disturbing. If you’re not a horror fan, or if you’re not someone that can handle much gore, then this isn’t a film for you. But if you relish the films of David Cronenberg then you should definitely seek out Brandon’s film.

Whilst the film does have its ultra-violent moments, there’s more to it than that; Andrea Riseborough gives a good performance in the lead role and helps bring life to the main character and the world the film takes place in as well as the bodies Tasya takes over. There are a lot of interesting ideas to unpack in this film and whilst Cronenberg doesn’t really get a chance to deal with them all in sufficient detail, he takes a good stab at it.

Overall, Brandon Cronenberg has created a film that’s a clear step up from his debut film and a welcome addition to the body horror genre that leaves you shocked but also excited to see what he goes on to make next.

3.5/5

Possessor is released in U.K. cinemas on November 27.

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LFF 2020 Review: Rose: A Love Story

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London Film Festival is well underway and there’s a lot of good stuff available now and coming your way over the next few days. The 64th BFI London Film Festival is all across the UK, inviting you to experience the world’s best new films wherever you are. Twelve days of UK premieres are available to enjoy online via BFI Player or in cinemas at BFI Southbank, around London, and throughout the UK.

Before I get into it, I do want to highlight that it’s quite hard to talk about this film without giving it away or spoiling anything. This review will be completely spoiler-free so you don’t have to worry about spoilers however the review might be a little brief or vague as I don’t want to divulge any key points or anything that could ruin the viewing experience for you.

 

Rose: A Love Story is the directorial debut from Jennifer Sheridan and once film starts it instantly hooks you with a very interesting premise. Rose (Sophie Rundle) and her husband Sam (Matt Stokoe) live in a secluded woodland where Rose spends her time writing and Sam tends to vegetables and attempts to trap rabbits. But there’s a deeper mystery to their lives. We don’t really get any backstory for either of our two main characters and yet it doesn’t matter. Right from the start, you have questions you want answered and it keeps you hooked. We don’t know much about what’s going on but nonetheless we are intrigued to find out more.

However, whilst the film opens well and you want to know where it’s going, it doesn’t do a whole lot more than that. It’s a horror film although there isn’t a whole lot of horror in it which is a little disappointing. I was expecting a few more scares from the film than were delivered. I might even go so far as to say it’s also a drama film and it isn’t completely a horror. And it does walk some well-known horror tropes to the point that you can see where it’s going before it gets there if you‘re a horror film enthusiast.

As a result of all this, as well as some pacing issues in the second act, it does start to get a bit dull. The ending is good but not great because I found myself being able to predict where it was going and what was going to happen.

Even though the film was made pre-COVID-19, there are some interesting ideas regarding isolation and cabin fever in this film- and there are even face masks too!

Overall, Rose: A Love Story starts off with a really strong set-up but ends up doing very little with it making the rest of the film somewhat uninteresting and creating a rather predictable conclusion.

2.5/5

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LFF 2020 Review: Another Round (Druk)

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London Film Festival is well underway and there’s a lot of good stuff available now and coming your way over the next week. The 64th BFI London Film Festival is all across the UK, inviting you to experience the world’s best new films wherever you are. Twelve days of UK premieres are available to enjoy online via BFI Player or in cinemas at BFI Southbank, around London, and throughout the UK.

Another Round (Druk in Danish) is the latest film from Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt (2012), The Celebration (1998)) starring Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Doctor Strange). The film follows four school teachers who want to test out a hypothesis that one of them has read that can potentially improve their lives- that they should maintain a constant level of alcohol in their blood.

“The world is never as we expect”

The four teachers decide that they will make sure there is alcohol in their bodies at all times except for after 8pm and on weekends. It’s certainly a very interesting premise and it’s both amusing and interesting to see them go about this. It is a very strange film and it’s one that could have very easily ended up being a silly film that wasn’t very good at all but Thomas Vinterberg has created this film with a lot of care and has produced a really great film.

It sounds like it’s quite a heavy film with some important themes and whilst this is the case, and it does touch on some weighty issues, it’s also a very light and watchable film. It has a lot of rather funny moments as well as the more important and more significant moments relating to alcohol intake. And so, the film manages to balance that tone just right between light-hearted fun and deeper, important issues.

The whole cast are very good in this film but much like the previous Vinterberg/Mikkelsen collaboration The Hunt, Mads Mikkelsen is outstanding and gives a phenomenal performance. Another Round and The Hunt are both films that are worth watching solely for Mikkelsen’s amazing performances despite them both being films that are great in many other ways. Mikkelsen truly is a triumph in this film and I implore you to watch it when you can. As is the case with any foreign language film, you forget about the subtitles very early on and subtitles should never put you off a film- you miss out on so many great films if you only watch English language films.

The film has ups and downs, it highlights some really important issues regarding substance abuse as well as morality and age and it ends with one of the best scenes of the year. Another Round really is worth seeking out as it handles all these important issues so well and it’s a film that’s also just a really good time.

Overall, Vinterberg has crafted another outstanding film, and whilst it certainly isn’t his best film, it’s still a great feel-good film and it’s my favourite film of London Film Festival so far and one of my favourite films of 2020.

4/5

Another Round is released in U.K. cinemas on November 20th.

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