Remember My Name is an attempt to make what Alan Rudolph calls a ‘contemporary blues fable’. Whatever the generic goal, the end product is an incomprehensible melange of striking imagery, obscure dialog, a powerful score, and a script that doesn’t know how to go from A to B.
Anthony Perkins is a construction worker married to Berry Berenson. Geraldine Chaplin arrives on the scene and begins a petty harassment of the couple, which gradually turns more sinister.
It develops that Chaplin is an ex-convict, recently sprung from a 12-year sentence for murder. She got a job in a nearby five-and-dime store managed by Jeff Goldblum (whose mother is still doing time), where she terrorizes store clerk Alfre Woodard and Goldblum. Chaplin also gets a room in a rundown apartment building managed by Moses Gunn, with whom she has a brief liaison.
If done on a traditional, linear level, Remember My Name might have induced some interest as a moderate chiller with emotional undertones. In Rudolph’s infuriatingly oblique style, however, it becomes an irritating and puzzling affair that insults, rather than teases, the viewer.