If ever there was a film with a clear identity crisis, “Reminiscence” is it. This blunder of a movie can’t decide if it wants to be science fiction, noir, a thriller or a romance. Writer / director Lisa Joy (the co-creator, executive producer, and writer of HBO’s popular series “Westworld”) takes all of these genres and shoves them into a too-bloated script and a thin story that flounders and goes nowhere.
Set in the future when the world’s cities are flooded (one of many immaterial plot points that never pay off), private investigator of the mind Nick (Hugh Jackman) and his former military partner Watts (Thandiwe Newton) make a living aiding clients in accessing their lost memories. Many who hire them want to relive the same perfect day over and over, while others seek to use these memories as a way to solve (or even commit) crimes. When a mysterious beauty named Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) stumbles into Nick’s business one evening in search of her lost car keys, he is instantly smitten. After Mae suddenly disappears, Nick becomes consumed by an overpowering obsession to try and figure out what exactly happened to her.
The film is stylized and looks great, and the performances are solid. But the weak script (and often corny dialogue), coupled with Joy’s straight-off-the-small-screen stagnant direction, turn what could’ve been a compelling sci-fi thriller into a lackluster snooze fest. It’s a shame that the talented cast and the beginnings of a great premise are mostly wasted. It’s never a good sign when a movie feels so utterly pointless.
In the end, “Reminiscence” is a film about memory. Ironically, it is wholly forgettable.
By: Louisa Moore