Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Remniscence Review: A Mind Game That Is Not Memorable Enough

Release date: August 20, 2021
Running time: 116 minutes
Written and Directed By: Lisa Joy
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton

Nick Bannister (Jackman), a private investigator of the mind, navigates the alluring world of the past when his life is changed by new client Mae. A simple case becomes an obsession after she disappears and he fights to learn the truth about her.

Reminiscence has a strange setup but one that made me want to learn more about what was going on.  It felt almost like Inception mixed with Minority Report, with Bannister trying to look into his and other people's past to find a hidden clue or story thread.  The whole setup is mysterious with Bannister finding more about the situation as the movie goes on.  But it also is told a little out of time, so some events happen in the past without the movie cueing you into that fact until much later.  And these events are not just the reminiscences, as the film sometimes plays fast and loose with when those end and the present beings.  And the characters are also interesting and well acted, though Ferguson is a little stiff (part of her character) and Jackman seems to attach far too quickly (also part of his character).

But despite Reminiscence's interesting setup, the story feels very convoluted and overly long.  Some movies can do that, such as Inception, which had a convoluted story that was part of the charm.  But here, the story seems to layer on several additional threads to try and get you to feel connected to the characters.  And it also seems to constantly go for a big surprise, even when it didn't seem to make sense.  And this leads to a conclusion that also just seems out of place to what actually occurred in the film.  The conclusion has a lot more gravity attached to it than I think it deserved given the journey we just had.  Overall the film is good enough without being memorable.  I liked lots of it, but kept looking at my watch throughout trying to remember what I would rather be doing. 

Reminiscence has a decent setup, but didn't do enough with the great cast and convoluted story to leave a memorable impression on me.

Rent it.

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Reminiscence is available in theaters and on HBO Max on August 20, 2021.  It will leave HBO Max after September 18, 2021.  

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