Sunday, September 5, 2021


Movie Name: Reminiscence
Year of Release: 2021
Director: Lisa Joy
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Marina de Tavira, Daniel Wu, Mojean Aria, Brett Cullen, Natalie Martinez, Angela Sarafyan, Javier Molina, Sam Medina
Genre: Mystery, Romance, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
"Reminiscence" is writer/director Lisa Joy's feature directorial debut, on the heels of a successful and varied writing career, which has seen her working on such projects as "Pushing Daisies", "Burn Notice" and the acclaimed "Westworld", which she created, alongside Jonathan Nolan, based on the book by Michael Crichton. "Reminiscence", which takes place in a near future, follows the story of Nick Bannister, a former soldier, now a private investigator, who focuses on retrieving memories from people, using a device that allows him to go deep into other people's memories and psyche. He lives in the near flooded Miami, working mostly at night, as most people do, due to the inclement temperatures during the day. He works alongside Watts, a resourceful and very much prone to drinking fellow former soldier, and though their business isn't exactly booming, they get to work alongside the police on occasion, in order to retrieve information from suspects. A new client shows up in the shape of a woman by the name of Mae, who has lost her keys and wants to find them. She soon is involved with Nick, in an amorous relationship, but soon disappears without a trace, leaving him inconsolable. As he persists in finding what happened to Mae, he stumbles across a much larger conspiracy, involving some dark forces from the criminal underground.
The biggest issue with Lisa Joy's "Reminiscence" is the fact that it is unable to marry all the threads that puts in motion, not to mention it can't figure out the style that it wants to adhere to. While the film is somewhat of a "Chinatown" version for the near future, attempting to make Hugh Jackman into a less cynical and jaded J.J. Gittes, with Miami as a replacement for  Los Angeles, it never quite accomplishes it, since it tries to be merge all these influences and narrative threads, without them woven together with satisfaction. At its core this feature is essentially a B-film, however it has been trapped within a futuristic romantic exercise. It has its central anti-hero, the femme fatale, the supporting best friend, the seedy underworld, but all these players and scenarios are tepidly staged, in a series of scenarios that while well crafted, lack a sense of urgency, despair, and a visceral sense of both fear and wonder, which is what the story is trying to elicit from its audience. It also doesn't help the film has some anachronistic moments, which feel pulled straight out of a Nicholas Sparks' book adaptation. It's ultimately a film where all the characters lack authenticity and belief, and that is one of its core issues. Rebecca Ferguson's Mae may well be a figment of a memory, but all the other characters barely exist, including Nick the narrator, whom we never know much of, even if he is indeed the central character. The talented cast tries to make the best of what they can with the material, including the central trio of Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson and Thandiwe Newton, but their best is simply not enough. The cinematography from Paul Cameron is beautiful, the score from Ramin Djawadi is solid, as is the production design from Howard Cummings. Here's hoping the next endeavor from this director is a more fruitful one.