Review | Hugh Jackman survives a dystopian future in ‘Reminiscence’

Reminiscence | Dir: Lisa Joy | ★ ★ ★ ★  

The co-creator of television’s Westworld sets her debut film in Miami in the near future, where water levels have risen and streets are flooded to create a new Venice. While the wealthy live in the Drylands, the rest inhabit half-submerged buildings and everyone is nocturnal because of the heat during the day.

This is a perfect setting for a romantic, futuristic film noir with a twist. Time is no longer a one way stream, narrator Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) informs the audience. When the waters rose, there wasn’t much to look forward to and his business is to guide his clients as they relive their favourite memories over and over again in an immersion tank.

Bannister describes himself as a private investigator of the mind but he is a flawed tough guy hero. The troubled war veteran has been using his memory tank to try to find a femme fatal who walked into his life then disappeared, much to the disapproval of his business partner and fellow war veteran Watts (Thandiwe Newton).

Femme fatal Mae (Greatest Showman co-star Rebecca Ferguson) is a reincarnation of the cartoon character Jessica Rabbit but Nick falls for her charms and is totally clueless about the person behind the façade or why she has targeted him. It is not long before she leaves a trail of trouble with a capital ‘T’ in her wake and Nick has to go back through his memories to find what he missed. (How many times have you wished you could do that?)

Nick’s muscles get a workout in the present as he makes more discoveries in the past. Gone is the subtly of philosophising about memories, how law enforcement can harness the memory tank and how you can go down a wrong path. The indulgent and seductive narrative is overshadowed by violence as Nick reaches an understanding with his past.

Lezly Herbert

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