For a movie that is being billed as a sci-fi action thriller – Reminiscence seems to take elements from a lot of popular franchises without doing them justice or putting together a movie that is actually something you’d want to watch again. Instead, it creates a movie and a story that even a shirtless Hugh Jackman can’t really help keep your attention.
The movie follows Nick Bannister (Jackman) as he’s trying to find out what happened to Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) – a woman he fell for from the moment he saw her. He, along with his business partner (Thandiwe Newton) run a memory clinic where people can come in and relive moments from their life. In order to reach their memories, Bannister leads them through voice commands as they lay in a liquid-filled tank (that reminds us of a float spa), allowing the user to relive their memories including touches.
The memory tanks seem to be a combination of what was used in Minority report or the crime-fighting series Stitchers, where they go into the memories of the dead to solve their murders. In another similarity, Bannister is called upon to use his tank to get memories from criminals to help solve cases… And in a, no so surprising way, the memories are used to solve a case for Bannister and help solve another. While no idea has to be completely unique, it seems like too many parts were pulled from different other films for this to be a coincidence and the lack of originality seemed.. off.
The movie is also supposed to be in the future, and the narration by Jackman gives you almost Blade Runner vibes as he directs the story as it progresses. This is almost forgivable since his character directs others through their memories with his mellow tones. But for a movie in a futuristic type world, technology is behind the times and it could be played off by the fact society collapsed when the cities flooded – but instead is just left unexplained.
Instead of focusing on building a deeper story, the movie tosses in some battles, some action (there is a distinct lack of action for an action film), and a love story that is very shallow. Thandiwe Newton does well holding her own as a side character and in fight scenes as well, it does seem like she could have been used a bit better overall for building a better story. Instead she’s given an unrequited love story which actually makes her character less interesting overall, while viewers are left with a movie dragging on about a not very interesting love story.
Reminiscence is in theaters tomorrow as well as on HBO Max. If you already have a subscription to HBO, that is probably the best way to see the movie – you’re not wasting any more money. Overall, it just feels like this movie was trying to be too many things at once – Stitchers, Blade Runner, and a love story all mixed into one and can’t decide what it really wanted to be in the long run. With a plot that seems to go nowhere and a story that could have been told in under an hour – it feels like Reminiscence dragged on and on without any decent resolution. It takes way too long to get to the point – then leaves audiences wondering just what’s in that tank with Nick after all those years – and that is a memory and thought that can’t be scrubbed away.
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(In theaters and HBO Max) Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman), a private investigator of the mind, navigates the darkly alluring world of the past by helping his clients access lost memories. Living on the fringes of the sunken Miami coast, his life is forever changed when he takes on a new client, Mae (Rebecca Ferguson). A simple matter of lost and found becomes a dangerous obsession. As Bannister fights to find the truth about Mae’s disappearance, he uncovers a violent conspiracy, and must ultimately answer the question: how far would you go to hold on to the ones you love?
Starring Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Marina de Tavira, Daniel Wu, Mojean Aria, Brett Cullen, Natalie Martinez, Angela Sarafyan, Nico Parker.
Directed by Lisa Joy