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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

Z: Its Presence Is Clearly Felt In Every Dark Grim Scene

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ZZ likes it dark.

 

Movies with creepy little boys. With “Z” you also have the feeling you are getting yet another horror in which such a demonic boy is in command. Only recently I saw “The Prodigy” where the son of the house slowly develops a deviating pattern of behavior. That movie was about reincarnation. In “Z” it’s about having an imaginary friend. When Joshua Parsons (Jett Klyne) introduces his friend “Z” to his parents, they don’t really worry at first. They think it’s probably just a phase their kid has to struggle through. They even think it’s cute, in a certain way. Until suddenly school friends don’t want anything to do with Josh anymore, Elizabeth (Keegan Connor Tracy) becomes aware of strange things and finally, Joshua is also suspended from school because of intolerable behavior. At that moment, Elizabeth starts to realize that this imaginary friend has a tremendous influence on her sweet son.

 

Z

 

Just an ordinary horror, I thought.

Until halfway through the film it seems like an ordinary average horror. Including, something terrible happening to one of Joshua’s school friends (with or without Z’s collaboration) and Joshua revealing a horrible drawing in his bedroom. Believe me. Draw a black top hat on the head of this scary creature and you have the twin brother of “The Babadook” in front of you. Now is the time for Elizabeth to sound the alarm, while dad Kevin (Sean Rogerson) is still in a phase of denial and suffers from utter blindness, and get in touch with psychologist Dr. Seager (Stephen McHattie) to present the problem. The well-known tricks from the horror genre are being used in “Z” of course. So again the shady spots with scary sounds. Toys that come to life. And nocturnal wanderings through the semi-darkness (while every sensible person would turn on the light anyway) with a few jump-scares as a result. Even a creepy bath scene couldn’t fail to come.

 

Z

 

Hey, it turns out to be completely something different.

And yet the film cleverly changes the mood and shifts the focus from a scary invisible friend to a long-forgotten childhood trauma that set the whole mechanism in motion. And before you realize it, the creepy horror story has given way to a sort of psychological thriller. From here, Joshua is no longer central, but the story focuses on Elizabeth. And frankly, the way Keegan Connor Tracy gives shape to this character was of exceptionally high level. An obviously confused person who slowly but surely sinks further into complete madness as a tormented soul. The father’s character contrasts sharply with that of his family members. In the end, I found it a meaningless person and quite implausible as a father figure. On the one hand, he said nothing about the red notes from school that exposed Joshua’s misconduct. On the other hand, he’s blind with anger when hearing that his son has been prescribed medication without his knowledge. Ah, as always in horror movies, it’s usually the fathers who navigate through the story carefree and never notice anything suspicious. It’s usually the mother figure who experiences strange sensations and concludes that disaster is imminent.

 

Z

 

It’s not such a scary movie.

I can’t say the film “Z” was really scary. Maybe deliberately not depicting the phenomenon “Z” explicitly, does cause some tension. A cleverly applied gimmick so the viewer’s imagination has to do most of the work (with a terrifying wall drawing as inspiration). Ultimately, it’s mainly the mood that’s essential in this film. In hindsight, the film covers different topics. Youthful growing pains and parental concerns. Nightmarish phantoms and unresolved trauma. As a parent, you expect your offspring to inherit some of your character traits or personal qualities. However, in “Z” this legacy is not something you’d expect. And even though this delusion isn’t excessively visualized here, its presence is clearly felt in every dark, grim scene.

 

 

My rating 6/10
Links: IMDB

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Drama

The Banker: A Must-See For Sure

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Sometimes you need to take a step back
and enjoy what you’ve accomplished, baby.

 

What an amusing movie this was. Such a movie you start watching and before you know it, the end credits roll across your screen. Even though the subject won’t get you very excited. The world of real estate and banking. A world populated with stiffs in perfectly fitting suits who prefer to juggle with repayment schedules and capitalization rates while using a jargon that a normal human can’t make heads or tails of. I sometimes have my doubts about whether they understand it thoroughly themselves. And the reason why it became an entertaining film is not only due to the packaging but also because of the Holy Trinity Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, and Nicholas Hoult. A colorful (pun not intended) cast that effortlessly works through dialogues and plays so naturally that it seems as if they have been working together for years.

 

The Banker

 

The racial issue.

In addition to the real estate market as a subject, there’s also the issue of racial discrimination that was still visible in the U.S. from the 50s. A black man who wants to settle in a white neighborhood wasn’t so obvious. Let alone that he could also take out a loan to buy and sell real estate in such a neighborhood. Hence the idea of Bernard (Anthony Mackie), a Texas-born African-American who is firmly convinced to succeed in his intent to make money from doing business rather than manual labor, to recruit Joe Morris (Samuel L. Jackson) as a business partner and use Matt Steiner (Nicholas Hoult) as a straw man. Well, they aren’t exactly ideal partners. The first is a flamboyant bon vivant and blabbermouth who comes across as an untrustworthy slick. And Matt is a hard worker with a good heart. Only he’s not really blessed with a top-level brain like Bernard.

 

The Banker

 

A light-hearted first part.

The first half of the movie is the more light-hearted part. The start of the Bernard Empire and the process of turning Matt Steiner into a convincing businessman. For me, this was the most hilarious part. The golf lessons where Samuel L. Jackson excels as the extravagant golf teacher and the math part Bernard takes care of. The amusing discussion that Steiner had with a wealthy man while trying to buy his building, was the ultimate climax of this period of training. And when this first chapter is over and the gentlemen are gradually taking over the real estate market in California, the next chapter pops up. The more serious part of the movie.

 

The Banker

 

Bernard’s second plan didn’t go as planned.

The first part not only showed how the two gentlemen managed to circumvent the discriminatory way of doing business in a devious way. It also showed how black people were deprived of the right to develop themselves in American society during that period. Loans and property sales were simply forbidden. Bernard’s plan to subsequently buy a bank in Texas, where segregation was still very much present, in order to support his black fellow man, is what you see in this tailpiece. Needless to say, this wasn’t a smooth operation.

 

The Banker

 

Highly recommended.

The Banker” is based on true facts and I believe it truly shows how it went in the U.S. and how people were deprived of decent housing. Perhaps Bernard Garrett intended to act as a benefactor and pave the way for African Americans. Maybe he was doing it out of self-interest, too, simply to prove to himself and his father that you could succeed if you firmly believe in it. Anyway, “The Banker” is a great movie with a serious part and a very entertaining part. But as I mentioned earlier, it’s the cast that takes the whole thing to a higher level. A must-see for sure.

‘The Banker,’ is now available on Apple TV+

 

PS. I wrote this a week ago. But due to the situation in the U.S. right now, this movie is even more current and confrontational than before.

 

 

My rating 8/10
Links: IMDB

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Drama

Inhuman Resources (Derapages) – Netflix Review

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From the football pitch to the small screen, from kicking a supporter to headbutting antagonists, Eric Cantona forever leaves a lasting impression, whether you’re cheering for him or not. In Inhuman Resources (Derapages in France), Cantona leads the line as Alain Delambre across six episodes, a former HR manager betrayed by the system, who fights to regain significant employment.

Having been a HR manager, with a family, purchased apartment etc. etc., Alain had it all in both his career and home life. But having been relegated to low-paid poor quality jobs for six years now, the apartment falling apart, and an almost hollow marriage, Alain is in the scrapheap. From riches to rags, a result of age discrimination. Regarded as a senior, Alain claims that employment bosses treat you as the, “Last to get hired, first to get laid-off,”. Wife Nicole (Suzanne Clement) brings forward a job opportunity, a HR role, but a depressed and broken-down Alain, despite being desperate beyond belief, has lost all faith and belief in his abilities. Having been forced to leave another inadequate job, Alain finds himself with no choice but to apply for this role.

Alain’s shot at redemption, however, entails much more than a sophisticated one-to-one interview or presentation, it instead requires a form of role-play…in the guise of pretend hostage taking. Essentially, Alain has to instruct and lead a unit, with the mission of pushing high-level employees to the limit, with the endgame being a display of who possesses the most loyalty amidst a nearby mass employee lay-off. What could possibly go wrong?

For the first few episodes of Inhuman Resources, the concept of the job and application process really drives the narrative and the tone. In fact, the research taken for the role establishes an overwhelming black comedic tone throughout, which timely coincides with viewers still getting used to Cantona as an actor. Of course, when the story and situations within the show transcend into a more serious nature, the tone and genre progresses too. The second half of the series is, essentially, a crime-thriller. When there is an attempt at being serious, it more or less hits the mark. Inhuman Resources is utterly brilliant.



As one would naturally expect, Cantona is the standout performer from the show. A clear progression from the self-service within Looking for Eric (2009) where he plays himself, Cantona’s acting chops are magnifique. A truly extraordinary performance of an extraordinary character. However, as interesting and brilliant the character of Alain may be, he is, unfortunately the only character of significance who doesn’t lack cliche, unlike the corporate suits led by Alex Lutz’ Alexandre Dofmann, with a hairstyle similar to that of Andre Rieu.

In the current climate where employment and job security are at an anxiety level higher than ever, Inhuman Resources feels like its relevance has been elevated significantly. Amid its dual nature of black comedy and crime, there is a serious social commentary at the heart of the series that goes beyond Parisian culture, therefore resulting in the establishment of a thought-provoking viewing at international level. The Ziad Doueiri directed – based-on-a-true-story – series is now available in full on Netflix.

Rating: 4/5

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