Reminiscence (2021)

Reminiscence (2021)

2021 PG-13 116 Minutes

Science Fiction | Mystery | Romance

Nicolas Bannister, a rugged and solitary veteran living in a near-future Miami flooded by rising seas, is an expert in a dangerous occupation: he offers clients the chance to relive any memory they...

Overall Rating

6 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • d_riptide


    5 / 10
    There’s something addictively powerful about indulging in past memories that are deemed enjoyable. It can help us feel better about present events and make us more hopeful for the future which is fundamental to being human but it can also become a crutch if left untreated thus becoming an obsession…..

    ….which is one of the few things that “Reminiscence” gets right. As confusing as the plot can get at times, part of that was an eventful, would-be impactful story about getting over the ones we lost and the memories we cherished with those people.

    Hugh Jackman comes off admittedly stale compared to his other performances, especially since other veterans like Daniel Wu, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton and Brett Cullen of all people fall noticeably short off the margin. But regardless, he’s the only one amongst this cast commanding your attention with each vibrant beat and continuing to sell the material towards you.

    For anybody thinking whoever wrote this must’ve taken some inspiration from Christopher Nolan; you’re not far off. Lisa Joy, the writer and director of this movie is actually Nolan’s sister-in-law so it definitely makes sense that she wanted to adapt Nolan’s signature flair, trying to capture his gorgeous visual style with urban settings, men in suits, muted colours, dialogue scenes framed in wide close-ups with a shallow depth of field and modern locations and architecture…..and for the story being told, that presentation meshes well enough with the intriguing concept and interesting introductory world building. Alongside the set design incorporating climate fiction and the class stratification interplay, it’s as if Inception, Minority Report and The Matrix walked into a bar…..

    It’s a shame when you play with my emotions like this, movie.

    Again, Nolan was one of those people who were able to get me to care about a story without having to get most of his characters to stand out; Lisa has not inherited that same trick. Despite the stellar cast at hand, there is a SEVERE lack of chemistry between ALL of them, serving up multiple underdeveloped character relationships that completely cause the audience to check out on understanding or caring why our lead character is so hell-bent on doing the things he does.

    Sure, the overarching mystery is enough to ensure the plot never fully gets boring but it doesn’t help that even with a consistent tone, the wooden dialogue can get a little irritant because of that.

    Visual effects have this uncanny valley in conjunction with the production design. They jump around a little too much, it felt way too sharp at some times to the point where it looked really pixelated; it felt like I was looking at video game cutscenes as opposed to seeing this environment for real. Don’t get me wrong, it still looks impressive but it continually broke the illusion behind what could’ve actually been a terrifying reality we might actually face.

    Not to mention, just like I feared, the plot has very little to do with why the environment is the way that it is now; Lisa makes little effort in including any plot or character elements that relate to the weird semi-apocalyptic setting of the movie, taking one half of the entire selling point of the movie and rendering it as a useless gimmick. Again, they look well amongst the action sequences but even they are so generic and by-the-numbers, it can’t even bother to present any interesting stakes.

    Running just shy of two hours, the biggest detractor for me is the film seemingly losing track of its own story not because it doesn’t care but because of what feels like a lack of confidence. This episodic-like structure picks apart the pacing of what feels like honest to god televisual storytelling and it makes the low stakes and character dynamics clashing with a boring, generic corporate corruption plot and not knowing what the actual central conflict of the film is until about 90 minutes in makes this method of storytelling all the more frustrating.

    There is no question Lisa Joy has a keen eye for the world of filmmaking and I do hope she gets more projects to further tweak and improve her craft, especially if what I heard was true regarding her work on Westworld. As an uneven genre blend between science fiction and noir, however, this was an illusion I just could not fully submerge myself into.