Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

'Remember' Movie Review, Film Clip Stars Christopher Plummer Skip to content

Become a safer, more confident driver with the AARP Smart Driver course! Use the promo code VET and save 25% during November.


A Nazi Hunter Races the Clock in 'Remember'

Christopher Plummer is unforgettable as a man on a grim mission

(Video) Remember Movie Clip: With help from a fellow Holocaust survivor (Martin Landau), a widower (Christopher Plummer) who struggles with memory loss embarks on a cross-country odyssey to find the former Nazi responsible for the deaths of their family members.

Rating: R

Run time: 1 hour 34 minutes

Stars: Martin Landau, Dean Norris, Christopher Plummer, Jürgen Prochnow

Director: Atom Egoyan

En español |  Part Munich, part Memento, the new drama Remember features a compelling performance by Christopher Plummer as Zev Gutman, a man with a deadly errand: to track down and kill the Nazi war criminal who murdered his family at Auschwitz.

As if his advanced age did not provide enough of a challenge, Zev suffers from dementia. Every morning he awakens asking for his dead wife, wondering what he's doing in this strange "hotel room." Only after he consults a crumpled handwritten letter by his bed does he remember the grim task at hand.

The letter was written by Max Rosenbaum, a fellow retirement-home resident and longtime Nazi hunter who would do the job himself were he not tethered to an oxygen tank and confined to a wheelchair. As it is, Max — played with wheezing urgency by Martin Landau — consults via daily phone calls with Zev, who is traveling cross-country by bus, a Glock tucked in his shaving kit, to scope out likely perps.

Zev and Max know their man is named Rudy Kurlander, but there are four Rudys out there; all are the right age, and all are German immigrants with shadowy biographies.

Director Atom Egoyan (a two-time Oscar nominee for 1997's The Sweet Hereafter) and first-time screenwriter Benjamin August waste no time putting Zev on the road. Our avenging angel is a man of few words, but Plummer — proving once again why he's one of the greats — speaks entire monologues with his stoic face, seen in extreme close-up for much of Remember. One moment he's all steely-eyed determination; the next he's pouring out tearful empathy. Irregularly we see a curtain of confusion drop over his visage — followed by his determined return to awareness, as if by sheer will. It's a powerful performance, perhaps the strongest in a late-career flourish that has earned the 86-year-old Plummer two Oscar nominations — and one win — in the past six years.

Christopher Plummer in, 'Remember'

Courtesy of A24 Films

Christopher Plummer in 'Remember'

Remember is at times distractingly episodic. Thankfully, the strong — and veteran — supporting cast moves thetale briskly along. Landau, always a welcome presence, elicits our admiration for Max's dedication and our disdain for his willingness to push a sick man beyond his limits. As two of the Rudy Kurlanders in question, Bruno Ganz and Jürgen Prochnow — who have starred in dozens of German-language films — confront their would-be killer, each offering a different perspective on what it was like to emerge from the killing fields of Nazi Germany.

In a standout performance, Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) pops up as the son of a third Rudy, a state trooper whose only regret appears to be that the wrong team won World War II. In his brilliant and all-too-brief time on screen, Norris subtly transforms from affable cop to frothing anti-Semite, and you never even glimpse the seams.

For all the film's mesmeric elements, I have to ding screenwriter August for exceeding his story-manipulation quotient here. No, he's not the first to engineer a plot twist that hinges on a character's dementia: Away From HerThe Notebook, even Rise of the Planet of the Apes have all taken a stab at it. Like most of those films, Remember uses an on-off switch to toggle between the character's awareness and the needs of the storyline. In effect, the characters forget only the things the writer wants them to — things that just happen to be the salient facts on which the film's final reveal will turn. It's cheating a little, and it disrespects those who must endure the effects of real-life dementia.

Script shortcuts aside, there's no dismissing the performances and direction at the heart of Remember. Plummer and company are, quite simply, unforgettable.

Bill Newcott is a writer, editor and movie critic for AARP Media.

Join the Discussion

0 | Add Yours

Please leave your comment below.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.