Apr. 4th, 2010

briarwood: Brokeback Mountain - Shirt (Brokeback Shirt)
Newsflash - Robert Pattinson actually can act! No, really. Yesterday, I saw Remember Me a really good film starring RP, and boy did he turn in a fab performance. On the surface, his role as Tyler Hawkins, rebellious son of a New York business magnate, is pretty cliche, but this film has a lot of layers.

The plot is fairly simple: while out on the town one night Tyler attempts to break up a fight and gets arrested by a cop who is, well, none too gentle about it. His room-mate, arrested with him, sees the cop at college the next day, dropping off his daughter (Ally, played by Emilie de Ravin). Room-mate hatches a plan for revenge, but rather than having the balls to carry it out himself he tells Tyler to introduce himself to the girl, screw her and dump her. There's no real suggestion that Tyler ever intended to go along with that plan, but he does let himself be pushed into asking her out. He's a rebellious rich-boy; she's a cop's daughter from Queens, but they find they have a lot in common and (it's a movie, after all) they fall in love.

But there are a lot more layers to the story than that. Tyler is deeply affected by his older brother's suicide and Ally by her mother's murder. Both deaths are years in the past. That's the main theme of the movie - how death and loss affect families...which, come to think of it, is probably why I responded to it so much. Ally's mother was killed by a couple of muggers on the subway; it has made her father (understandably) over-protective and given her a determination to live in the now. Tyler's family is broken by the suicide: the implication is that the father (Pierce Brosnan) was to blame but since it's all history it's hard to tell whether that's an accurate impression. But the father is emotionally distant and a typical businessman character - neglecting people in favour of business affairs - although given the way Tyler treats him it's hard to blame him for that. Caroline, Tyler's little sister is a talented artist but has trouble relating to girls her own age, with tragic consequences.

All in all, this is a very character-driven drama, and the characters are complex and layered. Tyler is perhaps a bit too much the brooding angsty type, but Ally is smart and sassy without being irritating; the asshole room-mate shows glimmers of not-being-an-asshole occasionally; Ally's father is a bully but again, we can see him as human, too. Pierce Brosnan's New York accent is somewhat inconsistent and he's the least complex of the characters. Caroline - the little sister - is also sweet and sympathetic without being irritating.

The story is told mostly from Tyler's perspective so the female characters don't interact much with each other but they are just as layered as the men and I think the film makes a respectable attempt at the gender-balance thing. The mugging and murder which opens the film is shocking but not exploitative. There's also a brief scene of domestic violence but it's not over the top and not sexual. The ending sneaks up on you and SPOILERS )

8/10 for this one - the story drags in places and some of the cliches are on the saccharine side, but overall a good film and well worth the price of admission.
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