Film Review – Reminiscence (2021)

Title – Reminiscence (2021) 

Director – Lisa Joy (feature debut) 

Cast – Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis

Plot – In the not too distant future, Nick Bannister (Jackman) an ex-army man turned investigator of the mind thanks to utilization of technology that can explore peoples memories, gets caught up in a whirlwind romance turned missing persons case involving the alluring Mae (Ferguson). 

“Don’t say always. Always makes promises it cant keep”

Review by Eddie on 03/09/2021

One of the most glaring examples of an “almost” film I can recall seeing, poor old Reminiscence at times comes mightily close to providing us with something special and wondrously inventive but more often than not squander’s it chances to become a film that is intriguing in parts but quickly moves towards a picturesque failure rather than an original winner. 

Transitioning from her work on the hit HBO series Westworld and marking her feature debut as a director, Lisa Joy has found very little of her namesake with Reminiscence’s recent release around the world on the hybrid same day streaming/cinema format that has seen her Hugh Jackman starring sci-fi infused romantic thriller sink badly at the global box office in what will go down as one of 2021’s most disastrous performance’s from a financial point of view. 

Garnering a slew of fairly mediocre reviews with but a handful of critics willing to overlook the films failings for the good it sometimes manages to deliver, Reminiscence feels like a poor man’s hybrid of Inception and call’s to mind the grand vision of a now revered film such as Dark City as we follow Hugh Jackman’s army man turned memory investigator Nick Bannister through a mysterious case of missing love interest Mae (Jackman’s Greatest Showman co-star Rebecca Ferguson) in the not to distant future where the war ravaged world is overcome by rising sea-levels and people’s obsession with re-living the past rather than the dreary present.

Story wise this concept provides Joy with a great chance to explore some wonderfully realized visual moments and the film is jam-packed with references and insights into a greater world you wish we had been able to explore here but what we are left with outside of the great mix of neo-noir cityscapes and dingy dive bars is a rather so-so story between Bannister and Mae that never becomes a love story or mystery that grips like it could’ve. 

There’s so much going on here you almost feel as though Joy and her friends at HBO would’ve been better served had they decided to allow Reminiscence to grow and expand its many concepts in a mini-series or the likes, this may’ve given room for the foundation of the story to grow, for us to find reasons to care more about Bannister and Mae’s dealings and for the mostly hinted at scenarios in this product to become more than something that teases us without every providing a resulting feeling of satisfaction. 

Final Say – 

Visually arresting and filled with some fantastic ideas, Reminiscence is sure to find some fans but for the majority, this will be a disappointing experience in the “almost” category. 

2 1/2 fish tanks out of 5  

8 responses to “Film Review – Reminiscence (2021)

  1. I will probably watch this eventually, even if the trailer was PURE Christopher Nolan super-cut, in the same vein that Pfister’s Transcendence was another Nolan-inspired/connected idea.

    There’s been a few films like this though, that should have been a series!

    • The comparison to Transcendence is a great one mate, thankfully this one is a bit better but still very similar!

      I really think this idea could be explored in a much broader way, offering a lot more depth.

  2. I think this is a case of the film-makers being spoiled by the comfort-zone of streaming/HBO; in the case of Westworld, they have been able to do as they will with little concern for viewing figures, teasing the audience endlessly and withholding the pay-off (if its even there). You can’t do that with a movie. That said, his does look intriguing and I’ll likely invest in the 4K disc when it comes out.

  3. I felt exactly the same way about this film. I left the cinemas frustrated because it had such potential, but it was too flawed in so many key aspects. Nice review – will definitely be sticking around for the blog

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