Let me start off by saying I am a Hugh Jackman guy. As a comic book lover, I geeked out over his portrayal of Wolverine in all of its forms. He gave the character legitimacy that had been missing from mainstream films up to that point. Outside of comics, I have The Greatest Showman on my list of favorite films. The magician that I used to be is enthralled with The Prestige. And every now and then I watch Van Helsing for some silly, over-the-top monster-killing action. I say this because I am going to be brutal about his latest endeavor: Reminiscence.
Reminiscence seems like it would be right up my alley, as I love sci-fi and crime dramas. Nick Bannister (Jackman) owns a business that allows clients to relive past memories. Through this business, Nick meets Mae (Rebecca Ferguson), a singer who comes in looking to have her memories searched for some keys she lost. As if it is love at first sight, Nick falls for Mae, and beings a relationship with her against the wishes of Nick’s business partner, Watts (Thandiwe Newton).
At some point, Mae disappears. Nick spends most of his time living out his memories with her, trying to discover why she would have left so suddenly. He begins his own personal crusade to find her. It is during a memory search of a comatose criminal, Nick finds out that Mae was connected to a drug lord named Saint Joe (Daniel Wu) and his enforcer, Cyrus Boothe (Cliff Curtis). Bannister’s obsession with Mae leads to him putting his career and life on the line to find and save her.
I don’t know where writer-director Lisa Joy wanted to go with Reminiscence. At first, it sounds like it was a sci-fi crime drama in which Jackman would use the power of memory searches to find clues to save the woman he loves. I expected something along the lines of Minority Report or maybe even Future Cop. Those movies had cohesive stories that followed set rules and plots that made sense. Reminiscence has neither of these.
We have a guy who seemingly falls head over heels in love with someone way too quickly, only to find he knows very little about her and gets drawn into something that could ruin his life (or end it). It makes little sense. Why was he this obsessed with someone he just met? Reminiscence could have been a great sci-fi film like Blade Runner, but what we got was a movie that only used the sci-fi aspects of it as an accessory to a romance flick.
You would think there would be something redeeming about Reminiscence. I thought so, too. I even went back and watched it one more time to try to find something that was good about it. But you know what they say: First impressions speak loudest. Reminiscence is a film that deserves to be better. However, it fails miserably. I give it one out of five stars.
Reminiscence is a movie without a genre to fit into. And that ultimately hurt the production greatly.