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Remember Me

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Remember Me
> Video: Remember Me premiere interviews

Stepping outside the security of a huge franchise can be a daunting prospect for a young actor. You need only look at the lead Harry Potter trio's non-Hogwarts work to see that making a connection with audiences beyond their blockbuster juggernauts is tricky. Robert Pattinson, who ironically got his break as Potter's Cedric Diggory before moving on to sparkling Twilight vampire Edward Cullen, appears to be interested in pursuing roles in character-driven dramas (a similar outlook to Kristen Stewart) when he's not donning fangs. In Remember Me, he's persuasive as a rebellious New York twentysomething who falls for his college classmate Ally, but the end product isn't up to the level of the performances (de Ravin, Chris Cooper and Pierce Brosnan offer good support) and it's a mope-a-thon that rivals New Moon for downbeat moodiness.

Pattinson plays the heavy-smoking and drinking Tyler Hawkins as a slouching, mumbling James Dean-type. The suicide of his older brother and the distant relationship with his lawyer father (Brosnan, still able to wear a suit with 007 panache) weigh heavily on him. He only finds solace in friendships with his irritating roommate Aidan (Tate Ellington) and little sister Caroline (Ruby Jerins). An altercation with Chris Cooper's cop after a bar room brawl further underlines his self-destructive streak. When Tyler and Aidan realise that Ally is the daughter of the arresting cop, they decide to seek revenge and get Tyler to seduce then cruelly dump her. Ally, though, is also a victim of tragic circumstances, her mother was murdered in front of her eyes ten years ago and her father is overprotective, so the pair click and the romance becomes genuine.

A sense of overbearing doom hangs over Remember Me, so much so that the solid acting work can't lift it out of being a joyless experience. Even Jerins, who brightens things up when she's with Pattinson, gets plummeted to the depths of despair by her bullying schoolmates. Add to that the parent/offspring conflicts - the intimidating Brosnan and Pattinson almost come to physical blows, Cooper and de Ravin do - and this could be retitled I'm 21 And I Hate My Father: The Movie.

There is a lot to admire in the film: the star is good (Pattinson will have legs when he's done with Cullen), Allen Coulter's direction is more than competent and there's a nicely-chosen turn-of-the-millennium soundtrack (Sigur Ros, Ed Harcourt, Sparklehorse), yet it's not enough to make up for the thoroughly miserable tone or contrived ending. Spoiling the finale would just be rude, but it's the thing that absolutely kills Remember Me as a serious piece of drama. It's tacked on and exploitative, boiling human tragedy on a massive scale down to a plot device to register a quick and easy emotional thud. As the title suggests, this movie wants to be remembered, and it certainly will be - it's the feel bad film of 2010.


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