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Rememory (2017)

Lionsgate
Blu-ray Disc Released: 11/28/2017

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/13/2017

We all know that person who simply can't tell a story. They mean well, and their tales of the possibility of being interesting, but they get things out of order, forget peoples' names, and don't recall important details until after the fact -- "Did I mention that he was a robot?" (My roommate in college would only tell stories with pronouns, so I never knew what he was talking about.) The same thing can happen in movies. An intriguing story or idea can get stymied when those behind the camera don't know how to get the narrative across. This can truly frustrate the viewer, as loving the concept and loving the movie are two different things. This was my reaction to Rememory.

Gordon Dunn (Martin Donovan) has invented a machine which he feels will change the world. The device can record a person's memories directly from their brain so that they can be seen by others. Dunn feels that this will help people move past difficult times in their lives. So, when he is found dead in his office and the machine is missing, suspicions are certainly raised. Samuel Bloom (Peter Dinklage), a man who makes architectural models for a living, decides that he wants to help find Dunnís killer. Bloom visits Dunnís widow, Carolyn (Julia Ormond), as well as Wendy (Evelyne Brochu), a woman who was close to Dunn. Bloom also interviews some of the people who were part of Dunnís research group. As his quest continues, and as heís able to try the machine for himself, Bloom realizes that Dunnís invention has a great deal of power.

Putting aside the fact that Rememory has a lot in common with 1983ís Brainstorm (and I mean a lot), the film has some good ideas. I think that most of us have wished that there was some way to more clearly remember events from the past, or, better yet, show these recollections to others, so the idea of Dunnís invention should have universal appeal. We see how viewing unfiltered memories effects people and we learn that the device has some unexpected side effects. On top of this is the murder-mystery. Why would someone kill a man who had invented a machine which could change the world? The filmís biggest question lies with Samuel Bloom. Why is he trying to solve this murder? Why would he care who killed Dunn?

Yes, Writers Mike Vukadinovich and Mark Palansky have filled Rememory with plot-points. And, theyíve bitten off more than they can chew, as the movie could have easily focused on just one of the aforementioned storylines, instead of attempting to tackle all of them. Because of this, as you can imagine, some things fall by the wayside. Some of the characters are well-developed, while others are merely cyphers. I liked the notion of the machineís side-effects, but that isnít explored very much. We see what Samuel does for a living, but are given no other information about him. (And while it doesnít really matter, as the machine isnít real, the movie could have given us some idea of how it works.)

The frustrating thing about Rememory is that while itís glossing over some of these ideas, it feels like goes on and on. The pacing is slack from the outset and this really hurts the movie, as we feel every second of its 112-minute running time. Palansky could have easily cut 30 minutes out of this movie and made it a much more interesting and engaging film. When the twist arrives in the third act, it really took me by surprise. However, when I really thought about it, I realized that I should have seen it coming, but the movie had become so bogged down in itself, that I forgotten some earlier details. (How ironic!) Rememory is one of those movies where if I were to tell you the story from beginning to end, you would think that it sounded pretty good, given the idea of the machine and the twist ending. However, watching the movie is a different experience altogether, as itís like wading through molasses. In the end, the biggest twist is how forgettable this movie is.

Rememory really made me want that machine so that I could find my old backpack on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Lionsgate. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. The picture is sharp and clear, showing no noticeable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, especially the vivid tones shown in the memories, and the image is very overly dark or bright. The picture shows a nice amount of depth and the level of detail works well. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The opening sequence delivers music which fills the speakers and then a sound effects that brings us deep subwoofer action, as well as detailed surround sound effects. Throughout the film, we get well-placed stereo effects which highlight sounds coming from off-screen.

The Rememory Blu-ray Disc contains only two extra features. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Writer/Director Mark Palansky and Peter Dinklage. "The Memories We Keep" (32 minutes) is a detailed look at the making of the film. Through interviews with Palansky and the cast, we learn about the story and themes, and get a look at the characters. The piece contains some on-set footage and an examination of the film's look.

Review Copyright 2017 by Mike Long