Review of Rememory

Rememory (2017)
5/10
I honestly think they called the machine "The Machine"
6 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
When not attempting at depth with its ramblings on memories--They shape our entire lives! We repress our memories over time! We escape the grief they bring and the true meaning they hold!--"Rememory" sports a decent mystery plot supervised by a quality actor desperately trying to maintain the interest of an already repressing audience. Marketed as a sci-fi-movie, fans of the genre will rightfully mock the film for using its sci-fi-apparatus (the memory-recorder) simply to highlight its themes with the gentleness of a sledge hammer to the forehead.

The film is interesting in one regard though: Contemporary society is obsessed with the concept of recording events, essentially creating visual and auditory memories for the future. People go to concerts and snaps away at it with their cameras rather than looking at it with their own eyes, accident scenes are rife with bystanders whipping out their phones to capture moments of shock, sorrow, carnage etc and even criminals stop themselves in their track to document their unlawful conduct. Dealing with similar themes by introducing a device recording perfect, actual memories is therefore an interesting concept. The problem is that this particular offering and its creators are obviously not the ones to tackle them. Its conventional investigation-plot, slogging pacing and sensationalist script makes it hard to engage with the thematic material.

That said, the aforementioned mystery that quality actor Peter Dinklage lords over is passable as entertainment. The plot revolves around dead psychologist Gordon Dunn (Martin Donovan). He is the creator of "the Machine." Sam Bloom (Dinklage) is an acquaintance of him from the past and someone who nurses some dark memories. Bloom takes it upon himself to solve this murder that happened during mysterious circumstance. With the help of the machine (acquired in contrived fashion) he proceeds to sample through recorded memories from test subjects, looking for clues as to who could've had a hand in the murder. Besides the subjects there's also Dunn's company, desperately wanting the machine returned so they can release it on the market (how they lost their incredibly valuable product and their ineptness at getting it back grates). So who did it? From here its a familiar stew of red herrings (some good ones, others not so much), final act explanations (some helpful, others completely needless) and a web of narrative possibilities (nicely visualized by scale models built by Bloom to assist him in his investigation).

In terms of style there is not much to be impressed about either. Shot in traditionally saturnine thriller/mystery-fashion with the occasionally injected pretty imagery of "important" memories. Mood-wise it's not much better: Hallucinations appear before our main character but rather than alarming us they annoy and the horrid score by Gregory Tripi is of no assistance. When entering the memories there also seems to be a contradiction: Entering memories sometimes gives the appearance of watching it from the audience perspective (you see subjects as well as the watcher interacting with an environment) while at other times providing the first-person perspective of the watcher. Perhaps a stylistic choice by the director bearing significance at the moment evading me, but perhaps just as likely pure indifference.

----All in all, not terrible but certainly stupid, pretentious and slow. Watch it for Bloom's investigation and the excellent acting from Dinklage, especially the scenes with Julia Ormond (Dunn's widowed wife Carolyn) whom play off of each other well despite the forced screenplay----
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