Clearly building itself up as some sort of ‘future noir’, Reminiscence is one of those films that leans so heavily on movies that have gone before that it practically buckles under the weight.

Chock full of cliché, stuffed with dialogue and plot twists you can see coming a mile off, the whole things strays dangerously close to parody at times – but it seems like everyone involved, notably director Lisa Joy, was actually taking the whole thing seriously.

Hugh Jackman stars as Nick Bannister, a former soldier turned ‘mind operative’, offering people who cough enough cash the chance to revisit their past experiences through dunking themselves in a sensory tank and thereby accessing their memories.

It’s all rather humdrum for Bannister, until Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) breathlessly enters his makeshift lab in a bid to locate her missing keys (or so she says). Bannister is instantly smitten, and once it becomes obvious that there is something more sinister at play here in her memories – including corrupt barons, gang warfare and dirty cops, Bannister finds himself tumbling down a rabbit hole of suggestion, false memory and danger.

Right from the off, we get some cheesy voiceover from Jackman that tells us straight away what Reminiscence wants to be, one of those vintage Bogart private dick movies given a modern facelift – the action this time is set in a waterlogged Miami of the future, complete with cryptic references to a war, a border etc (that are never really elaborated on).

Jackman does his best to carry the whole thing along, but the dialogue is just so poor you wonder how he managed to keep a straight face. The same goes for his scenes with fellow mind worker Emily (Thandiwe Newton), which mostly resemble cliché piled upon cliché.

The whole thing just tries too hard, from Ferguson crooning away in a smoke-filled club, to Jackman’s swirling trenchcoat – and boy does the pace drag at times.

The look of the film – the visuals of a neon, watery Miami are nice, while the ‘memory tech’ is interesting enough – save this from being a total disaster. But, even so, Reminiscence is a real dud that will almost certainly be swiftly forgotten.

Movie Review: Reminiscence
2.0Overall Score
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About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle