Reminiscence review: Sci-fi that’s too ambitious for its own good

Reminiscence review: Sci-fi that’s too ambitious for its own good

It doesn’t take miss Reminiscence’s ambitions to become obvious. The sci-fi thriller really wants to combine the Neo-noir, dystopian aesthetic of Blade Runner with the existential exploration of Inception , with a small amount of Chinatown thrown in for good measure, too. It doesn’t stop there, though.

Reminiscence is set in Miami in the not-too distant future. Not merely has war divided the US, but the polar ice caps have melted, leaving the world’s coastal cities flooded, and humans mostly nocturnal as a result of the heat from global warming.

Concurrently, Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) is a private investigator of your brain, who, alongside his loyal colleague Watts (Thandiwe Newton), dives in to the past of his clients. However when the alluring singer Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) enters his office, Nick becomes infatuated with her. Especially after she mysteriously disappears.

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Nick uses something similar to a sensory deprivation tank is his investigations to understand the reality about Mae, aswell as to consider a plot in the underworld that becomes linked and quickly puts a target on his back.

Unfortunately, the screenplay never quite gets a handle on the various plots that are likely to make Reminiscence a mind-bending and riveting ride. Instead, the plots tie the film right into a knot of despair.

It doesn’t help that Reminiscence gets off to a rocky start, due in most part to its over-reliance on Jackman’s monotonous narration. Instead of establishing the world and its own rules, each of the information is presented in a heavy-handed and long-winded manner that’s just dull. So much in order that even Jackman himself sounds like he’s about to drift off.

Reminiscence is never in a position to get over this uneven beginning. The further it dives into its plot, the more convoluted and tedious it becomes, while any attempt at being heartfelt feels tepid and cliche. Then there is the mind-numbing this is the script’s dialogue, which is so clumsy and obvious that you will find yourself rolling your eyes at its ineptness.

Thankfully, Reminiscence’s visuals are very good. The flooding of Miami and New Orleans, where the film is mostly set, feel visceral in addition to atmospheric. It offers Reminiscence a dark and dingy aesthetic that, unfortunately, its wayward screenplay struggles to build upon.

Even Reminiscence’s pretty impressive cast are barely able to improve the lacklustre material. Jackman, who’s very evidently channelling Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard in Blade Runner , spends too much time being forlorn, desperate and out of his depth. Gleam distinct insufficient chemistry between him and Ferguson. There are hints, but, ultimately, the pair aren’t given enough space to build a genuine spark or connection.

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All of which means that, for almost all of Reminiscence’s running time, you will be counting down the rest of the minutes before cinematic muddle ends. The ones that have the ability to persist with it, though, will be amazed by its affecting final act.

Sure, some of its revelations are ham-fisted and predictable, but Jackman is finally given the opportunity to shine. He does so in a genuinely moving and energetic fashion that’s severely lacking from all of those other film.

It’s not enough to save lots of the film. But it makes you wonder whether or not a different structure, or perhaps a simpler narrative, may have made Reminiscence a lot more enjoyable. Or, at the minimum, more coherent.

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