There will always be films involving the Holocaust, or at least its survivors. But sometimes, a story surfaces that departs from the formulaic Holocaust story that so many filmmakers gravitate towards. This is the case with REMEMBER, director Atom Egoyan's latest drama/thriller.
Zev (Christopher Plummer) is one of the few remaining survivors of Auschwitz. We first meet Zev in a nursing home about a week after his wife, Ruth, has died. One of the other men in the home, Max (Martin Landau), who was also with Zev in Auschwitz, says that he has a mission for him, one that they discussed previously -- of course, because of Zev's dementia, he can't remember the conversation (he can barely remember his wife died), so Max gives him a letter explaining everything.
Zev takes the letter's advice and escapes from the nursing home, taking off on a muddled roadtrip that causes some concern: it doesn't quite seem like a good idea to send a man with dementia on a mission that spans several days, as, in very much a wink to the protagonist of MEMENTO, Zev seems to forget where he is and what he's doing at each junction of the journey, relying on crossed off check-lists and notes on his arms to get the job done. Meanwhile, his son, Charles (Henry Czerny) tries to track him down, unaware of his father's mission.
What exactly is his mission? Max has tracked down the name of an Auschwitz guard who took on the identity of an executed prisoner in order to escape after the war ended. He now sends Zev to find every Rudy Kurlander in a (pretty large) radius, determine which one it is -- and then kill him.
What results is a pseudo-thriller with a splash of mystery. Each Rudy Kurlander that Zev meets adds a different shade to the story, twisting and turning the plot to slowly reveal new information. Plummer does a fantastic job with his role, leaving you genuinely afraid for him in his uneven state -- though there are several moments where his fragility is the least of his concerns.
REMEMBER starts at Midtown Cinema on April 8! Don't miss this one!