What is a man to do when he finds himself on the right side of the law,
but on the wrong side of truth?
That is the question framed in Remember, a fascinating new film from father/son team Greg and Dallas Lammiman.
Remember brings us to the year 2050. In the aftermath of economic collapse the State has assumed authority over all spheres of life. Couples are matched to produce their quota of children, which are raised by state professionals from infancy until the point that they, too, enter the workforce. To foster compliance the adult citizenry are prescribed a memory-suppressant drug "to help relieve stress." The new socionomic system is carefully balanced, constantly monitored, and strictly enforced.
Capt. Carl Onoway (Justin Lewis) works for the Child Protection Agency. His job is to locate and prosecute insurgents, especially those who attempt to abduct children from the state facilities. One day Carl's routine is rocked by a strange message insisting that he remember and begin to make a difference. Further messages and encounters persuade him to rethink all he has believed.
Enter a clever twist on dual identity. Continuing to take the drug on weekdays only, he unwittingly uses his classified status at work to feed information to his weekend self, when he secretly works against the state to reunite parents with their children. His days "on the pill" become increasingly frustrating as his efforts to catch the mysterious new criminal continually come up short. Then a new law is passed—a law that puts his own wife and children in imminent danger. With the police-like CPA hot on his double trail, Carl must risk everything to rescue his family before it is too late.
Stories have a way of teaching us what we know in a way we haven't known it before. They also create valuable questions by helping us experience through fictional characters what decisions we might or might not make. If I were Carl, would I have the courage to remember? Would I choose to give up the life I know for the sake of a long-lost truth that society rejects?
In our world today, even with as messed up as some laws are, certain values have remained marvelously (well, mostly) intact. Family is still celebrated. Separating a newborn from it's mother without cause is still horrifying. Witnessing a surprise reunion of a military father with their young child wells sympathetic tears of joy.
In the world of Remember, the antithesis is preached. The God-given instinct to fight for the preservation of family is not tolerated, and living as a family is illegal. Religion is replaced with ideological pillars, the first and chief of which is "No father shall know his child, and no child shall know his father," a quote from none other than--gasp!—Plato of ancient Greece.
The contrast is startling, because in subtle ways our culture is set on a path to this same year 2050. And the responsibility is sobering. Because we intuit that the present is when we must prevent this future.
The filmmakers managed their resources well: filmed on location in Alberta, Canada with a budget of only four thousand dollars, the Lammimans created a feel of about one hundred times that. The visual effects strike a good balance and are neither mind-blowing nor distracting. The harsh lighting fits the target environment. Costumes are simple yet communicate effectively. A few performances tasted off, but the main cast is fairly solid. Unfortunately, multiple scenes suffer from poor (location) sound; the score, however, does an admirable job of supporting the story-arc. The set up lacks bang, but the pacing picks up, and lighter moments bubble into the plot appropriately.
From script to release was just over a year (that's a fast turnaround, in case you're wondering), and I am impressed with the results. Check out the bonus features on the DVD; this team made up for in ingenuity what they lacked in experience. If you have the gumption to make a feature with what most people scrape together for a local music video, remember Remember and forget the naysayers.
Overall, I give this film a thumbs up rating of three out of five stars. As a first feature from a new indie company, this is a brilliant beginning. If you like sci-fi and/or love your family and/or hope to have one someday (does that cover everyone?), I heartily recommend seeing it!
Movie Trailer/Website: http://theremembermovie.com/Remember/home.html
Buy the DVD: http://www.moviemakers.ca/store/#remember-store
Official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RememberMovie?ref=ts&fref=ts
Highly recommended for ages 13+. I suggest that parents preview the movie and use discretion before showing it to younger children. Positive values are highly affirmed. An excellent catalyst for family/group discussion afterward!
More details below . . . . (SPOILER ALERT!!)
Sensuality = None.
Language = None.
Suspense = It's there, but most 10-year-olds I know could handle it. My grandma loved this movie, but was on the edge of her seat almost constantly.
Violence = Low. No blood. Guns shoot laser beams that stun or occasionally kill, police sticks buzz an electric current upon contact, and an injection-like dose of the memory-blocking drug renders people temporarily unconscious.
Drugs = Memory-blocking pills resembling vitamins are taken almost daily; these are commonly referred to as "MemRelief," but occasionally as "[prescription] drugs."
Other = Topics mentioned include pregnancy, birth, sterilization, abortion, eugenics, and withdrawal. Flashback/visions might be disturbing for a younger audience. Also, during one scene, children start screaming (first from surprise, and then mostly because everyone else is); the scene is intended to be more funny than scary, but if your child tends to imitate, please exercise caution. ;)
Feel free to ask questions or comment below.
Happy New Year!
God's Great Gift
Below is a poem I wrote a couple of years back to highlight what the fuss should really all be about. Please feel free to share it! What's the good news for if not to "tell it on the mountain, over the hills, and everywhere"?
God With Us
(c)2010 Rebekah Cook
Today we celebrate an event by Jewish prophets foretold
Anticipated and long-awaited by both the young and old
Today is when we commemorate our divine Savior's birth
And the hour that marked his entrance as a Son of Man on earth
What made this so wondrous and so marvelous an affair
A time so worth remembering for year upon mortal year?
What made this little infant boy attract the rapt attention
Of local shepherds and eastern kings, and not some other men?
His birth announcement was proclaimed by mass angelic song
Accompanied by starlight bursts as heaven joined the throng
They spoke of this natal miracle in majestic harmony
Declaring his identity and royal pedigree:
"The essence of Love incarnate, immortal Truth revealed
The exact representation of the Father, approved and sealed
The Word of God made very man and draped in human flesh
Eternal Lord of all creation, Son of righteousness."
The Light of all the world had come to seek and save the lost
The Source of Life to ransom us—HIS life is what it cost
The blameless, stainless Lamb of God was stained with sin's full cup
As the Prince of Peace paid purchase price for what we'd given up
Emmanuel! God with us! Bask in that most glorious thought
Our Champion came to rescue us, and won the fight He fought
Who could've known? Who would've guessed the baby who came that night
Was the very One to take our mixed-up world and make it right?
This is the news that bears repeating, and begs to be spread well
The Shaper of the universe has come to us to dwell
He lived and died, yet lives today (He conquered death, you know)
To offer all who come to Him redemption's joyful glow
Our Counselor, Teacher, Comforter, Healer—Jesus is his name
The Holy One, the Risen One of everlasting fame
The reason for the season is not merely a story we tell
It's a Person that makes my heart swell with a gladness none can quell!
As we revel in the wonder of Jesus' first coming and eagerly anticipate his return, may we follow in his steps of undaunted faith, contagious joy, and sacrificial love.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Painful, Confusing, and Inconvenient
The first snow of the year has fallen, and, so far, has stayed. The brilliant whiteness adds to seasonal cheer and travel hazards. Love it or hate it, winter is here!
Cold, yet cozy. Beautiful, yet dangerous. Fun...and annoying. The beauty may even prickle to the touch.
Metaphor for life?
Most of us have picked a favorite season out of the year, if only to have an answer when asked. Each have their pros and cons, and our selfish psyche picks which ones to remember and wishes away the rest. But as there is a "reason for the season" of Christmas (which approaches with astonishing pace!), there is likewise a purpose for each season we encounter in our lives.
We know that seasons change, but we do not always have the time or the inclination to prepare for them. Sometimes the change seems to come without warning....and not all the seasons are welcome. While there may be the occasional Indian summer of unexpected happy adventures, more often it seems that the interruption is of a sinister nature: accidents, sickness, unemployment, heartbreak, or the death of a loved one. What do you do with that?
Perhaps the most troubling question is: WHY? Why did this happen? (or not happen...) Why did this happen to me? Why did this happen now? Why shouldn't I give up now? Why doesn't it just go away? While those questions may have answers, maybe that's the wrong sort of question for us to be asking at first. Maybe the essence of Why is a distraction, to keep us sitting at the base of the hurdle in our way, analyzing the structure and philosophizing about the placement on the track instead of jumping or climbing over to continue the race.
We mean well, of course. If we know Why, then we know what to do about it, right? We would know how to prevent it from happening again, and eventually have a problem-free life. Right?
Wrong: "...in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
I have several friends who were/are involved in debate clubs growing up. Something they have learned is that if you let your opponent frame the questions for you, or fall into a default mode, you lose the argument. All right, fine. So what questions could we be asking instead? Well, here are some that I use for target practice when I'm "trouble shooting." :-)
What is the trouble/s? It is said that identifying the problem is the first step to dealing with it. While not imperative for initial action, understanding the issue is certainly necessary to achieve a long-term resolution of it. And have you noticed that troubles like to travel in company? When I'm feeling overwhelmed, it really helps me to write down a list of all the variables trying to stress me out, so that the nebulous mass doesn't keep churning in the back (or front) or my mind. Then I talk the list over with God.
Whom does this affect? Something I have found is that it helps to shift the focus from myself to others. Obviously this is affecting me personally, but while I might feel alone, I'm usually not. Even seemingly isolated troubles often have ripples into other people's lives. What can I do to ease their pain and better understand their burden?
Who am I fighting against? Regardless of who or what I think caused the problem, I need to recognize who the enemy really is: Satan. The devil will use whatever he can to distract me and trick me into putting my energy into warring against anything else. But although the symptoms vary with each case, it's hard to go wrong with targeting him as the ultimate perpetrator.
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. ~ Ephesians 6:11-12
How has God shown himself strong in the past? I remind myself that God is greater than my trouble/enemy. I read the Bible and find story upon true story of how God has shown his power and grace in strong, effective ways. I search out modern-day testimonies from friends or even strangers that relate to my situation. I review the specific faithfulness and goodness of God in my personal history. When I can't remember certain events well, I try to find someone else who was there that can help me recall it better. It also helps to write down answered prayers in a journal to look back at.
How do I fight? Instead of reacting in fear, doubt, hate, worry, griping, or other such destructive manner, I strive to respond with the opposite. These are some tactics in my arsenal:
How can I glorify God through this? There comes a point when how we respond to hardship contributes to answering the Why. When we submit our lives to the Lord Jesus, God works in our lives to bring good out of even the things that Satan meant to destroy us (Romans 8:28). We can partner in this process by keeping our eyes open for opportunities to give glory to God along the way.
"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." ~ John 9:3
As you may have guessed, this is majorly a distillation of what I am learning from my recent life struggles: nursing my sister when she was suffering from a recurring high fever, dealing with a nasty rash on my own skin, resisting depression after the high of a long film shoot, ongoing car trouble, paying unexpected bills, and being there for friends in a hard place. It's been a hard fall.
But God has brought us through as victors, not victims! God has healed us and we experienced a recovery much faster than normal. I've been receiving unexpected gifts and funds that have covered all the expenses, and now have a wonderfully functional vehicle. And despite my many imperfections and inexperience, he has somehow used me to help others through some rough spots at the same time. I am in awe of what he has done—and is still doing!
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
....All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, 15-18
Yes, life can be very painful, and often confusing. No, there doesn't seem to be a shortage of inconvenient circumstances cropping up from the infamous land of Nowhere with the unnerving speed of Suddenly.
But who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:35-39