AMBI Pictures have numerous projects in development with big names attached; James Franco‘s adaptation of John Steinbeck‘s In Dubious Battle, a romantic comedy starring Sarah Jessica Parker, a whole bunch of sci-fi films from young upcoming directors. Only two of their films have reached distribution at this point; Al Pacino vehicle The Humbling and an emotional drama with Danny Trejo at the forefront, neither of which have performed well commercially or critically.
All in all, the studio looks like it is willing to take financial risks on established talent, and given some time, interesting material could emerge from it. Today however, AMBI announced that it intends to remake Christopher Nolan‘s classic meta-thriller, Memento, the film that brought the American auteur into the public consciousness.
Based on a short story by the director’s brother, Jonathan Nolan, the intense psychological drama follows a man plagued by his lack of short term memory, as he frantically attempts to solve his wife’s murder. It’s a fairly simple story, bolstered by its foregrounded structure; the film begins with the climax of the narrative and each scene works back to the beginning. Another straightforward (for lack of a better word) idea that, when realised, became greater than the sum of its parts, due mainly to Nolan‘s remarkable eye for action based scenarios and attention to detail.
With AMBI Pictures announcing a remake, without a director or cast attached, they have opened themselves to a world of criticism before a product has been formulated. There is no trademark on a backwards running narrative, and Memento itself is not calling out to be brought into a contemporary setting. The film shows little cultural relevancy to its time, and now, with meta-fiction constantly in use within mainstream cinema, this seems like a poor choice for a studio that has previously banked on talent over franchise.
The acquisition of the rights is based on the purchase of Exclusive Media Group, which means they also own Begin Again, Donnie Darko, and End of Watch. Either the studio will make drastic alterations to Nolan‘s original; so drastic and experimental that audiences will barely recognise the narrative, or we will be seeing a lot of familiar films hitting our screens, probably with James Franco in the leading role. I cannot remember the last time a remake announcement has left me feeling so empty…