Reminiscence, is a sci-fi, romance, film noir written and directed by Lisa Joy. Joy, is mostly known for the HBO series Westworld, where she was co-creator, writer, director and executive producer who in addition, worked on shows like Pushing Daisies and Burn Notice. She’s also an attorney who graduated from Standford and Harvard. Quite the resume.
I never watched Pushing Daisies or Burn Notice, but I did watch Westworld, until I didn’t. The series rapidly transformed into an unwatchable mess and I had to escape with my sanity relatively intact. I came into Reminiscence raw, I just saw the trailers and noted the release date. Had I done my usual delve into who was behind the film, I may not have even bothered. I would have feared it would be a waste of two hours.
I would have been right.
The film takes place sometime in the future and every leftists wet dream has come true. The tides have risen and the coastal cities are partially submerged in salty water. Boats are back in fashion, as they are used like ubers to take people from one concrete island to another. People slosh about in ankle deep water on city streets by night and hide inside their watery basements during the day because the sun is too darn hot.
Hugh Jackman plays Nick Bannister, a former soldier who now has a job selling people memories, much like Ralph Fiennes’ character Lenny Nero did in Strange Days (1995) (an actual good movie) only instead of serving up other people’s memories he serves up the memories of his clients. Emily, played by Thandie, I’m sorry, Thandiwe Newton, another former soldier who served closely with Nick, now works for him.
The party begins when a red bombshell named Mae played by Rebecca Ferguson walks in to their establishment looking for help finding her keys. Yes, her keys. She gets naked, they drop her in the tank (formerly used as an interrogation device), she leaves, forgets her earrings, yes, I know. Nick returns said earrings and proceeds to fall head over heels. A short blip later we learn that not only did these two start dating, but apparently she mysteriously disappeared without a trace. For soldier boy Nick, this simply won’t do, what follows next is an exercise in an unhealthy obsession with no real payoff to show for it.
Quality is All Over The Place
The biggest problem with this film is that it presents a potentially interesting concept unfortunately riddled with amateurish and naive sensibilities. This results in dialog and direction that seemingly come out of left field. For instance, near the half-way mark there is an “action” scene so spectacularly bad it was cartoonish.
Daniel Wu plays a ‘bad guy’ whose dialog is so inane he should fire his agent. Actually, taking a look at Wu’s filmography he should have fired his agent eons ago. The only decent things the poor guy’s been in have been Warcraft and Into the Badlands.
“You’re just an empty man looking for a woman to blame.”
Joy wants to be a good Social Justice Warrior so we see her have characters blurt out these inane party line arguments from time to time. Which just makes this disjointed adventure worse because while she wants to be down with the cause she still wants to tell a love story between a man and woman, which is difficult, when the ideology you are trying to embrace, despises men…especially white ones.
Another issue is the setup. It wants to have its cake and eat it too. Oh no, catastrophe, climate change has attacked, society is on the brink of destruction. But, well, yeah, of course you still have to pay your electric bill. We all know that if the sea levels did begin to rise so much they started to flood coastal cities that instead of migrating inland, society would continue to live in said water drenched buildings. Right? Wrong. They’d move.
Because as society deteriorated “money” and “property ownership” the prime ingredients for Lisa Joy’s “Land Barons” plot-line would still hold weight. Spoiler alert. They wouldn’t. That’s not how the real world works Lisa. When a society deteriorates, money’s value deteriorates because the structures that ensure its worth deteriorate. When you get to that stage money wouldn’t give someone power. Force would give them power.
And the kind of people who would rise to the top of a situation like that would not be encumbered with the mores of an aristocracy from say the 1700’s. The idea of an illegitimate child or heir who could threaten to cut in on ones “inheritance” would be as non-existent as a wedding license.
Just hearing all these poor characters (usually brown) gripe about the all powerful rich people (who just happen to be white) is simply grating and ridiculous.
“You left us to the tide.”
Shut up. Get some agency for once in your miserable life.
I gave up this movie several times. I literally had to force myself to finish it. That’s how bad this was.
As for Emily, nothing says romance like leaving a character pining after a vegetable. And the less said about the spectacular logistical idiocy that is the fate of Nick Bannister the better.
Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson and Thandiwe Newton read this script and still agreed to star in the movie.
Let that sink in.
1 out of 5 stars
Propaganda meter: So ridiculously obvious you can easily spot and dance around them.
- Brown people great
- Global warming should be making our lives hell…any day now
- Gives an ode to the BLM riots
- Rich white men bad