While its flaws are considerable, the Holocaust-themed thriller “Remember” benefits mightily from a quietly commanding Christopher Plummer performance that almost makes you forget the wonky plot logic.
The 86-year-old actor ages up several years to play the role of Zev Guttman, an Auschwitz survivor and recent widower who, despite struggling with dementia, has a major score to settle.
Following directions meticulously written out for him by his wheelchair-bound friend, Max (Martin Landau), Zev sneaks out of their assisted-living facility and embarks on a cross-country mission to track down the concentration camp guard responsible for the murder of their families.
The problem is that there are four prospective U.S. residents on his list bearing the name Rudy Kurlander, and the Glock that Zev carries in his toiletries bag contains ammo that is only meant for one of them.
Actually, there are several other problems with Atom Egoyan’s self-consciously Hitchcockian film that would likely be serious deal-breakers had it not been for Plummer’s beautifully rooted work.
Egoyan, who has struggled in recent years to recapture the artistic success of 1997’s “The Sweet Hereafter,” demonstrates, for the most part, his trademark restraint in this flashback-free production, but he’s unable to downplay some of the more glaringly sensationalistic aspects of the “Memento"-tinged screenplay, penned by newcomer Benjamin August.
Although those inconsistencies, along with an overly busy Mychael Danna score, ultimately detract from the intended effect of the shocker ending, Plummer, half-a-century after outsmarting the Nazis in “The Sound of Music,” manages to further hone his reliably persuasive presence.
MPAA rating: R for a sequence of violence and language.
Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle’s Royal, West L.A.