COPIED AND PASTE
Symbolism abounds in Remember Me. The question is, how much is deliberate and how much simply exists, lying in wait for not only the viewer, but also the filmmakers, to find? For example, the Seurat print on the inside of Tyler and Aiden’s apartment door is seen again when Caroline goes to the gallery with her father in the final montage. And, because we see it a number of times in Tyler’s place and he even seems to be staring at it when he tells Aiden they’ve really got to fix the deadbolt, the print seems to have some significance. However, we learn in the DVD commentary that the picture on Tyler’s door is CGI and was put in later, after they’d decided Caroline would be looking at the Seurat at the gallery. So, no meaning particularly?
There is a lovely analysis of this print on the bilingual Remember Me site:Regardssurlefilmrememberme.blogspot.com (“The Seurat Portrait in Remember Me”: June 3, 2010).
The set designer took great care with the over-all look and also with the myriad details in the apartment and with the sets and period detail in general. [Kudos to Scott P. Murphy.] Physical details had to be realistic and provide continuity. But, do any of the objects in Tyler’s apartment, or Charles’ office, have meaning beyond that? If the Seurat wasn’t chosen for some meaning, what about the other items?
Let’s explore some of these details and see what happens, what occurs to us.
I’ll start with how often Tyler is placed visually behind or in front of bars.
Tyler is, we know, a conflicted character. The battles going on inside of him are provocateurs. He hears Michael’s name being called in an alley and is primed for a fight. He feels guilt for using Ally—at Aiden’s instigation—and provokes Neil Craig to beat him up. His conflicts with his father are ever present.
It is no wonder that his short fuse lands him in jail. He almost relishes the mess he’s gotten himself—and Aiden—into, when Craig hauls them to jail after the street brawl. Aiden calls him nihilistic and Tyler shrugs off his friend’s concerns. Tyler is trying on nihilistic behaviour for size. He’s playing at it. It’s a joke to him. In so many ways, it seems like Tyler really doesn’t care, that he is sort of submitting to fate. He’s poking at fate, testing it, in these early scenes. So there he is, a prisoner, behind bars, goading the other prisoners from the safety of his own cell. “Pussies,” he taunts.
Then, much later, Tyler enraged Craig on purpose by offending him. “I only did it for a bet,” he says to Ally’s Dad, a man obviously already on the brink of violence. Tyler wants to be punished so badly because he feels guilty for his treatment of Ally. And Ally’s Dad is just the man to mete it out. The perfect man for this particular sin, actually. At first Tyler makes an attempt to defend himself; he grabs Craig’s hair. Then we see Tyler visibly fearful as Craig starts choking him and Tyler slides down the wall in defeat. The tough cop is physically stronger than the lanky kid so this retribution was easy to apply.
Where the heck are the bars, you wonder? Well, mostly they are the invisible but real restrictions inside himself. Tyler chooses them because, after his brother’s suicide, he feels he does not deserve to be free. When Craig leaves, Tyler pounds the floor in anguish, then, sits in a chair, in despair. We see him from the room beyond and he is behind the flimsy beads hanging in rows, which form a veil of bars in front of him. So this particular atonement did not set Tyler free.
LOTS MORE AFTER THE JUMP I SUGGEST YOU KEEP READING THIS!