Friday, March 12, 2010

Film Review – Remember Me

Writer: Will Fetters
Director: Allen Coulter
Producer: Nicholas Osborne and Trevor Engelson
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper and Lena Olin
Romantic melodrama, 1 hour 53 minutes

Robert Pattinson is such a huge phenomenon right now that it really doesn’t matter what the critics think. His movies make a boatload of money. He’s primarily known as the brooding vampire hunk Edward Cullen from the Twilight series of films, and has legions of adoring fans – the “Twi-hards.” So don’t be surprised when Remember Me rakes it in even though the critics likely won’t be kind to it.

It isn’t for a lack of trying on his part. He took an executive producer role on this project and filmed it between working on the second and third installments of Twilight. But the film doesn’t really give him a lot to do other than more brooding. We already know he can do that – it’s pretty much all he does as the vampire. Here Pattinson plays Tyler, a sullen student who meets Ally (Emilie de Ravin) after a dare from his roommate. They both have dark pasts, have mean old dads, and so naturally fall in love.

But they don’t even meet until a good half-hour into the film. Until then, there’s just a lot of exposition and backstory on their supposedly troubled lives. The script by Will Fetters seems like it could have used a few more drafts. As it is, it lurches from scene to scene with very uneven pacing. Things happen suddenly, and for no reason. Too often it feels contrived and false. And the climax will be very controversial. Some will find it moving and powerful, but I’m quite sure many will find it offensive and unforgivably manipulative.

Pattinson may yet prove to be a fine actor, but this isn’t the vehicle to do it. It’s actually the supporting cast that shines. Tate Ellington steals many of his scenes as the dickish roommate, and Ruby Jerins is a real find as Tyler’s eleven-year-old sister. Along with his role as the British Prime Minster in The Ghost Writer, this is Pierce Brosnan’s second darker, unsympathetic role in quick succession, playing Tyler's rich but distant father. Chris Cooper seems out of place as Ally's dad, however, and the radiant Lena Olin is pretty much wasted.

But this is Pattinson’s movie and he doesn’t do much with it. He’s been likened to James Dean, but Dean was a fine actor with a surprisingly good range. Pattinson is too often just blank, so he still has a ways to go to really prove himself.

Until then, at least he can brood.

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