‘Reminiscence‘ is billed as a neo-noir science fiction thriller. It is directed, written, and produced by Lisa Joy in her feature directorial debut. Warner Media gave it a theatrical run before streaming it to HBO Max.
Climate change has altered the climate where the coastal cities are plagued by rising waters and the rich live in the “drylands.” To escape, folks turn to men like Miami native Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) who operate machines that allow the users to relive memories through psychological prompts. Nick and his partner Emily “Watts” Sanders (Thandiwe Newton) are veterans of the last war and live off this business. When a woman named Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) wanders in for a simple request, she and Nick begin a whirlwind. Then, she just vanishes. Using the device, Nick looks for clues and soon learns of connections to a drug dealer named Saint Joe (Daniel Wu), a hitman named Cyrus (Cliff Curtis), a murdered woman Elsa Carine (Angela Sarafyan), and a conspiracy connected to land baron Walter Sylvan (Brett Cullen). Are Nick’s memories playing tricks on him or was she not who she said she was.
There are a lot of movies that deal with a person’s memory. The Matrix, Total Recall, and The Giver all deal with memories and how they impact the perception of reality. Each one of these features deals with the subject subtly, using science fiction as a backdrop, touching on themes with nuance, and make us question our own memories. This movie does not do that at all.
Instead, we are treated to a movie where you think “I’ve seen this before” and witness the most bizarre clashes of ideals. First, the movie seems to criticize humanity’s need for nostalgia before switching gears completely. There was no subtle transition, it was just like, “oh gotcha!” I literally scratched my head at this contradiction.
Now, that is not to criticize the actors. Jackman, Newton, and Ferguson all show up with their talent in tow, but they could not limp the movie past the bland dialogue, boring action sequences, and annoying subplots.
If you are wondering if this movie goes woke, do not worry, it does. The plot features long-since debunk climate change hysteria, attacking the military, affirming rioting to “tear down walls,” and the message that cops are bad all make it into the movie with as much subtly as a marching band.
Bottom line, Reminiscence is the typical Hollywood film these days. It is unimaginative, ham-fisted, and is totally depleted of originality. Just skip it.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Sexual content, Violence, Some foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: No such thing as a happy ending. All endings are sad. Especially if the story was happy.
Check out the trailer below:
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