Movie review: 'Remember' forgets the devil in the details

Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

There's a really, really good movie hiding in "Remember." Somewhere.

It's a heady thriller with heavy undertones, bolstered by a fantastic performance. The only thing missing is, well, the big picture.

In a world where blockbuster movies have 14 credited writers, this one seemingly could have used another set of eyes on a screenplay that has great moments that only add to the frustration of the weak links.

Zev Guttman (Christopher Plummer) is a 90-year-old man who lives in a nursing home and grapples with dementia. His wife has recently died, adding to both his confusion and his heartbreaking situation.

Under written instructions from a friend at the home (Martin Landau), Zev goes on a mysterious quest that reveals his past as a survivor of Auschwitz.

The unspooling of events is deeply Hitchcockian, and there's tension and twists. There's also some strained plausibility and conveniently tidy events that link these twists together. If some of those kinks had been worked out, director Atom Egoyan could have had something special here.

That's mostly because of Plummer, who turns in a pretty brilliant performance in the film's pivotal role. There's a sea of emotion behind Zev's often-tragic confusion, and Plummer nails it.

But there's some laziness in the overall construction - a key scene with Dean Norris of "Breaking Bad" in particular - that lets much of the air out of what was building and doesn't hold up. The great performance of Plummer isn't quite wasted, but it deserved better.


Opens Friday

2½ stars out of 4