2 Stars – Simplistic
One of the purposes of the cinematic arts is to reveal what the audience intuits to be true but has not yet seen. It resonates with our common humanity and opens the door to deeper understandings. But when that art is the handmaiden of a philosophical, cultural or religious agenda then it is not so much art as a visual sermon. As such it has a place in the cinematic world but usually for those who already believe in the particular viewpoint of the film’s creators. That is the case with Dallas and Greg Lammiman’s film Remember.
We resonate with many of the concerns that this father and son team wishes to communicate. The importance of parents caring for and raising their own children, the length to which those in government will go to force their beliefs on citizens, the need for each individual to do what they can to stop evil and the pervasive guilt that plagues a person when they harm another, even if done under the government’s direction and authority. However, the method by which this is communicated is artistically simplistic.
With the help of his father Greg as writer, Dallas creates a futuristic world in which the government uses the Child Protective Agency to take children from their parents at birth. The parents are then given a drug each day that causes them to forget the past, including having had a child, and convince them that without this drug they will not be happy.
The central character is security officer Capt. Carl Onoway (Justin Lewis) of the Child Protective Agency. Onoway is responsible to stop subversive communication to parents about not taking the medication or attempts to reunite with their children. But the captain is suffering from a reoccurring nightmare because he shot a father who was trying to get away with his children. In this nightmare he is confronted by a shadowy figure calling him to face the evil of his actions and begin reuniting children with their parents.
Also present in the ensemble cast is his wife Wendy (Rachel Peacock) and his lieutenant Andrew Turner (Scott Heatcoat). Both play pivotal roles in both the development and action of the tale. Also present are the Onoway children as well as a security force of white-coated enforcers.
As an independent film created by Lammiman Family Films, the cinematic quality is predictably less than what is experienced with studio films, and the acting is also less than professional. But the overall feel of the film creates the stark environment that matches the warning of the message. Being aware that there could come a day when government imposes itself on the family and takes children away from their parents is a viable concern that is worthy of conversation. This visual warning can initiate that conversation.
Discussion for those who have seen this film:
1. The decision to leave faith out of the film implies that in such a society, religion would be absent. That has not been true in even the most oppressive regimes because people have kept the faith however dangerous it might be. Do you think there is coming a day when religion will truly be removed from human culture? Why do you answer as you do?
2. The decision to make the Child Protective Agency evil is a fascinating one. Why do you think the filmmakers portray this particular branch of government doing the opposite of its present purpose?
3. It is difficult to face a world where families, the most basic building block of any society, are destroyed. Do you think this will happen in America? Why or why not?