Robert Pattinson makes the fantasy-to-reality transition easy on Twi-hards by keeping it emo for Remember Me. Co-starring alongside R-Patz is Lost's Emilie De Ravin in this tragic romance about a pair of tortured souls and their burgeoning relationship set against the trials and tribulations of their respective families.
Emilie de Ravin
It's 1991 and a sickeningly malicious subway robbery leaves a mother dead and her cop husband left to raise his daughter alone.
Fast forward a decade and the little girl is now an NYU student still living with her over-protective father. Into her life comes Tyler, the tearaway son of a upper middle class family ripped apart by its own past tragedies.
Bookended by a pair of genuine body blows - of which more later - what's most impressive about the film is that it is a genuine two-hander.
It would have been very easy for this to have become The Pattinson Show but debutante writer Will Fetters and Hollywoodland director Allen Coulter have the wit and intelligence to use their star to draw the audience into the story rather than just into the cinema.
Both script and pacing allow the leads the necessary time and space to breathe so that, when their stories do ultimately intersect, its natural to want to follow them both together and apart.
Innocently stepping in to stop a street fight, Pattinson's character ends up first squaring up to, and then getting a lesson in fisticuffs from, the arresting officer.
When its pointed out that he shares a university class with the cop's daughter, a vindictive plan is hatched to love her and leave her. But the path of true revenge never runs smoothly and its not long before the teen-friendly Machiavellian scheme turns into something a little more heartfelt - thanks to the transitory powers of home-cooked spaghetti and showering with a friend.
Fortunately both parties are blighted with the vagueness-masquerading-as-profundity gene that seems rife in all angst-ridden US drama so exchanges like the following become de rigeur as each gradually becomes the other's special someone:
Him: "I'm undecided."
Her: "On what?"
Him: "On everything."
Oh God, he's so windswept and interesting, so tortured and deep. So deep, in fact, that he can't even raise a smile at American Pie 2 when all about him are coughing up a lung - and, as well all know, that movie was high-larious. In short, at the outset of the film the characters are about as slappable as anyone over the age of 22 could possibly imagine. What saves them is having juuuuuuust enough tragedy trowelled on to make you feel guilty for wanting to bang their heads together.
However, a very strange thing happens as the characters begin to reveal themselves. While he's struggling with bringing the prodigal and seemingly uncaring father back into the family fold she's doing everything she can to keep Daddy at arm's length. And, as the machinations of the relationship play out in a fairly standard manner, its difficult not to become emotionally involved.
And then there's the ending...
As left turns go in movies, it's a biggie but its probably best to think of it more like the end of one of Christopher Guest's movies than M. Night Shyamalan's.
In Guest's films a seemingly meandering plot suddenly comes screaming into focus with a single incident that defines the emotional build up that has led to it - David St Hubbins motioning Nigel Tuffnell back on stage in Spinal Tap, the will-the-won't-they kiss at the end of the rainbow in A Mighty Wind. At this point you realise that every single aspect of what has come before has been a delicately crafted progression towards a satisfying yet surprising conclusion.
At best Remember Me's concluding twist could be considered audacious, at worst hugely manipulative. Strangely effective as a bombastic emotional crescendo to the film, the ending still seems strangely out of place in what has been a clearly identifiable single genre drama. As an experiment, can we suggest saying the name of the movie out loud as you walk into the cinema and then doing the same on the way out. We're willing to put money on the fact that you'll interpret it differently the second time around.
Remember Me has the set up of a low-rent, high-concept teen comedy and the sledgehammer ending of a twistier-than-a-Curly-Wurly-on-a-Helter-Skelter thriller. Whether either sit comfortably within the parameters of a straight ahead character piece is open to debate. What is certain is that Pattinson is most definitely playing to the Twilight base while widening his appeal beyond the breathless tri-colour clad teens that have pronounced him as the second coming.