‘Rememory’ is a sci-fi mystery film starring Peter Dinklage of the ‘Game of Thrones‘ fame. The movie moves at a glacial pace as it unfolds its murder mystery premise but is elevated by the great performances of its cast. Moreover, it also presents some intriguing notions surrounding existentialism and just life lessons in general. Since it’s a sci-fi movie and its primary narrative is all about Peter Dinklage playing the role of an amateur sleuth, some of its major plot points can be a little confusing. So here’s a detailed explanation of the movie for you.
In the opening scene of ‘Rememory’, Peter Dinklage’s character Sam Bloom drives back home with his brother after a night of drinking. On their way, their car rams into another vehicle and that’s how Sam’s brother, Dash, dies. About a year after this incident, Sam attends a seminar conducted by scientific pioneer Gordon Dunn, who has invented a technology that allows people to look at their own memories as a third person.
The purpose of this, as Gordon explains, is that it allows one to understand the actual story behind one’s traumatic past. Traumatic memories are usually forgotten, and in many cases, our brain tends to manipulate these in such a way that we are able to move past them. Gordon’s invention allows people to seek the truth of what actually happened in their pasts. Soon after the seminar, Gordon is found dead in his office. When Sam learns about Gordon’s proclaimed murder, he sets out to solve the mystery behind it.
Who Killed Gordon?
When Gordon steps off the stage right after his seminar, the CEO of the company sponsoring his technology approaches him and tries to convince him for an early launch of the technology. This is when Gordon claims that he needs more time. Also, when Sam first sets out to solve Gordon’s murder mystery, he says that he owes it to him. These two initial scenes of the movie later play a crucial role in solving the movie’s overall riddle.
Sam starts off by stealing Gordon’s machine from his home and then first uses it to recall his brother’s last words. He then uses it to track down all the people who were previously the test subjects of Gordon’s technology. This leads him to a world war veteran who tells him about another test subject named Allison. When he visits Allison’s home, her sister tells him that she felt suffocated after learning the truth about her past and ended up killing herself. This suggests that the technology did not really work as Gordon expected it to. Instead, it harmed the people who used it. In another scene, even when Sam uses it, he starts hallucinating and is also able to see his deceased brother.
Later on in the movie, Sam is led to another test subject—a woman named Wendy who was having an affair with Gordon. Wendy tells him about Todd, who was struggling to deal with the memories of his past after using Gordon’s technology. When Sam meets him and confronts him, Todd tells him that he really wanted to kill Gordon and had even tried to do it. Right after the seminar at the beginning of the movie, Todd had gone to his office and had almost shot him, but then he couldn’t gather the courage to do so. This explains why there were bullet holes on the walls of Gordon’s office.
Sam asks Todd to use the machine to prove his innocence and that’s when he learns that Wendy had visited Gordon right after Todd. Although all fingers eventually point at Wendy, it turns out that Gordon’s death was somewhat of a suicide. Much later in the movie, Sam discovers Gordon’s memory disk which reveals that Gordon, too, was traumatized by the death of his daughter. He kept replaying her memories on his machine and eventually decided to delete all the memories associated with her. But this, in turn, completely destroys the synapses of his brain and killed him.
Why Couldn’t Sam Recall his Brother’s Last Words?
The secondary narrative of the film revolves around Sam’s attempt to recall the last words of his brother. When he uses the machine to do so, he learns that his brother’s last words were nothing but the lyrics to a song. However, delving into this old memory makes him realize why he chose to forget the incident in the first place. He learns that the car he had rammed into was the car in which Gordon and his wife were traveling with their daughter.
After the accident, Sam regretted what he had done but he decided to flee the scene and made it look like his brother had killed Gordon’s daughter. With time, Sam completely forgot about the memory but deep inside, he still regretted it. This explains why Sam claims that he “owes the investigation to Gordon.” He held himself responsible for the death of Gordon’s daughter, and by solving the mystery behind Gordon’s death, he was trying to pay him back for what he had done.
The Ending: “We’re Nothing More Than the Memories We Keep”
In the end, Sam holds himself responsible for Gordon’s death. Out of guilt, he apologizes to Gordon’s wife, Carolynn, and gives her the disk which reveals that he was driving the car that killed her daughter. But instead of watching the disk, Carolynn shuts the disk in a glass bottle and lets it go. Since she had previously seen Gordon’s disk of memories, she hallucinates and sees her daughter walking at a distance, but just smiles and leaves. The ending of the movies shows how one’s memories are often malleable. With time, a memory that we used to perceive in a certain way completely alters itself and becomes something entirely different. And this in itself is one’s way of healing from the past.
Gordon’s intention was to use the machine to heal people and maybe even help those who suffer from other chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. However, he failed to realize that at any given moment in the present, we are an outcome of the memories we’ve kept all this while. Any changes made in these memories can completely alter one’s sense of sanity as it messes up with one’s natural ability to cope up with trauma. The good memories make life worth living. On the other hand, the bad ones, as painful as they may seem, make us who we are. At the end of the day, one must willingly learn to choose what deserves to stay and what deserves to go. In other words, as Gordon says: “We’re nothing more than the memories we keep.”
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