REMEMBER — Review by Susan Granger
This unusual revenge story is unlike any other Holocaust-inspired movie you’ve ever seen! 90 year-old Zev Guttman (Christopher Plummer) has dementia, so he’s confused every morning when he awakens, calling for his wife Ruth. She’s dead, but it takes him awhile to adjust to his memory loss. Read on…
Zev lives in a nursing home not far from New York, where his best friend is wheelchair-bound Max Rosenbaum (Martin Landau), who’s hooked up to an oxygen tank.
They’re both Auschwitz survivors, and Max has hatched a plan to wreak revenge on the sadistic guard who was responsible for tormenting and exterminating both of their families.
According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, SS Officer Otto Wallisch escaped from Germany and has been living somewhere in North America under the assumed identity of Rudy Kurlander.
Having identified four elderly men with the name Rudy Kurlander, Max gives Zev a thick envelope filled with cash, train and bus tickets and an all-important letter detailing, step-by-step, his every move in a search to identify the culprit – and kill him.
Although Zev’s distraught son (Henry Czerny) sends out a Missing Persons bulletin, Zev evades an F.B.I. background check when buying a Glock and slips, almost unnoticed, crossing into and out of Canada with an expired U.S. passport on his cross-country trek.
Scripted by newcomer Benjamin August, it’s astutely directed by Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan (“The Sweet Hereafter,” “Where the Truth Lies”) with Jurgen Prochnow, Bruno Ganz, and Heinz Lieven as three of the four Rudys. Dean Norris is particularly effective as virulently anti-Semitic John Kurlander, a rural cop, the son of the deceased fourth Rudy, with a savage German Shepherd.
Christopher Plummer’s dignified, persuasive performance propels the Hitchcockian plot – with additional support from Peter DaCunha as a thoughtful youngster who befriends Zev on a Cleveland-bound train and Jane Spidell as the protective daughter of the last Kurlander on Zev’s list.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Remember” is an intriguing 8. It’s an engaging Canadian import that should be on your “must see” list.