Reminiscence. Review.

The downfall of Westworld Season 3 ( as covered by this author at the time) was one of the most disappointing media related flameouts of 2020. Nevertheless, someone at Warner Brothers believes in co-creator Lisa Joy. This mid budgeted and already flopped original sci-fi feature directorial feature starring Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson is testament to that. Believe it or not this viewer did go into an opening week screening with an open mind. The strengths of Westworld at its best means Lisa Joy as a creative can never be written off entirely. Original sci-fi films getting big platforms and studio budgets are also worth supporting in concept.
On the back of actually seeing Reminiscence, this viewer has one thing to say. Films like this that or a textbook example of why studios are so hesitant to make solidly budgeted original sci-fi. The plot is a distinctly tired neo-noir. Jackman plays a world-weary detective in post-apocalyptic Miami. He specialises in a very specific technology that will let patrons relive memories of choice. The so-called Reminiscence can also be used to extract crime information from victims and perpetrators. When Ferguson’s femme fatale comes across his door one day they quickly fall for one another. Events take a turn for the worse when she disappears mysteriously. Jackman spends the rest of the film investigating her case and attempting to track her down. This project feels like an original film by way of technicality. The script feels like an undercooked mish-mash of ideas from much more influential slices of sci-fi noir. Blade Runner, Inception, Altered Carbon and elements of Waterworld to name a few. Add on a layer of distinctly pretentious narration in the delivery and the first act is a rather rough sit. The plot gathers a little more momentum as the narrative unfolds. Critically though never enough to distract from exactly what the final product feels like. A decidedly half baked, incredibly pretentious mess. It takes all the narrative ideas from better material and then fuses them into a smoothie of unmarked slop. Jackman and Ferguson are at least watchable screen presences. Not even their movie star-charisma can elevate a decidedly by the numbers screenplay. The slightly more engaging second half means this review is ultimately, not going to be as harsh as the writer might want it to be. Even in the films, better moments is nothing more than a generic slice of Hollywood sci-fi action. The kind of thing that looks like it might provide something on paper but in execution feels sorely lacking.
Even taking into account the diminished expectations brought on by the last season of Westworld Reminiscence is sluggishly disappointing. A generic cocktail of defiantly dull, done better sci-fi ideas. Decidedly pretentious in its delivery with a cast unable to elevate the material. Failures like this are why studios are so reluctant to green light Even mid-budget sci-fi for theatrical release.

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