Movie Review: Rememory

rememory movie poster one sheet, starring peter dinklageAre we simply the sum of our memories? That’s a problem, if so, because our memories are inevitably tainted and altered by events that happen subsequent to any given point in our lives. Which leads to the question: can you trust your memories? Those are the key questions underlying the indie sci-fi thriller Rememory, and they’re darn interesting to consider. More provocative, however, is a device that lets you relive memories, an invention that also becomes a time travel device. A device that’s really the heart of this surprisingly engaging film.

Scientist Gordon Dunn (Martin Donovan) has invented a suitcase-sized device that lets you record your memories and then relive them, free of the taint of subsequent events and influences. Sounds like a great idea, but there are profound implications, and people involved in the tests learn that painful memories dim and loving memories grow more important for a reason: reliving bad experiences renews the pain, horror and upset.

In particular, young ne’er do well Todd (Anton Yelchin) has a memory he’d blocked get restored, to his torment. He insists that Dunn exorcise that particular memory, but the machine doesn’t work that way and Dunn refuses. Then Dunn is found murdered in his office. Did Todd do it in a fit of rage? Or did local art gallery owner Wendy (Evelyne Brochu) commit the crime as she shows up on surveillance tapes too?

Pulled into the mystery is the troubled architectural model maker Sam Bloom (Peter Dinklage), who keeps reliving the horror of being with his brother Dash (Matt Ellis) when they were involved in a car crash that killed Dash. Could the Rememory machine help Sam go back and relive the accident and thereby extract clues that he otherwise can’t seem to quite remember? And if so, is that really a good idea, or are some memories better left faded and out of focus in the dark recesses of our minds?

Peter Dinklage, rememory
Sam Bloom (Peter Dinklage), from “Rememory”

There are two films that Rememory owes a debt to; Brainstorm and Memento. In different ways, both have influenced the storyline, the former for the concept of a thought recording and playback device – and the massive unintended consequences it produces — and the latter for its ingeniously unveiled timeline. Like Memento‘s oddly unspooled storyline, Sam’s continuing delving into his memories surrounding the fateful accident keep offering up more and more clues as to what transpired that terrible night.

I quite enjoyed Rememory and suggest you check it out. It’s appropriate for older teens, but the violence of the car accident and few other scenes might be too tense – and confusing – for younger viewers.

Handy tip: it’s actually free to watch on Google Play Movies if you have access to that service. If not, it’s in very limited theater release currently. I’m sure you’ll remember to thank me later. If you remember what it is you wanted to remember in the first place…

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