Reminiscence (3/10) Movie Review
by Tony Medley
I would rate this movie R, which under the Medley scale stands for Rotten. From the outset it is hard to swallow. In the first place it is set in the dystopian future somewhere that is already flooded all the time by the rising sea levels due, I guess, to the woke theory of human-caused global warming. It is sort of a pseudo noir with Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman), some kind of “Private Eye of the mind,” narrating.
The problem is that the script by Lisa Joy, who also directed, is banal to give the best of it. Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) is the doll with whom Nick is infatuated. The fact that Ferguson is no Jane Greer (Out of the Past, 1947) or Mary Astor (The Maltese Falcon, 1941) or Barbara Stanwyck (Double Indemnity, 1944) is just one of the many defects of this movie.
The premise is infuriatingly absurd. Jackman has some kind of water filled crypt that his patients lie in with something strapped to their brains. They go into some sort of a sleep and Nick prods them to think about certain things from their past which is then projected as holograms onto some sort of platform with incidents from their past played out in physical reality. It is beyond ridiculous.
The McGuffin is who is Mae and why did she run away from Nick. Why Nick cared for Mae is difficult to comprehend, but then the entire movie is so counter real life, why shouldn’t his obsession be any different?
It reminded me of another film based on a ludicrous premise, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Inception (2010), in which Leonardo and his crew personally invaded someone’s dreams. Preposterous as it was, it did well and made money.
The best thing in the movie, though, is Thandiwe Newton’s performance as Emily “Watts” Sanders, Nick’s devoted assistant, that, while not enough to save it, does give the film one plus. Her performance was perhaps enhanced because Joy did not give her any of the hackneyed lines that Jackman and Ferguson were required to mouth.
With a different premise and a different female lead, this might have been a good movie. But it is so dark, the script is so clichéd, the setting and premise so phantasmagoric, I thought it would never end. In fact, it took me 3 sittings to get through it because I couldn’t take much more of it than 1/2 hour at a time.
Tony Medley is an attorney, columnist, and MPAA-accredited film critic whose reviews and articles may be read in several newspapers and at rottentomatoes.com, CWEB.com, Movie Review Query Engine (mrqe.com), and at www.tonymedley.com. His most recent book is “Learn to Play Bridge Like a Boss,” the most complete “all in one” book for beginners and also for advanced players. He is also the author of three books, UCLA Basketball: The Real Story, Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed, the first book ever written on the interview for the interviewee and still in print after more than thirty years, having sold over a half million copies, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Bridge, which has sold over 100,000 copies. He is an American Contract Bridge League Silver Life Master and an ACBL accredited director.