Sold under the names of its two creators, director and screenwriter Lisa Joy (which was the first feature film) and producer Jonathan Nolan, Reminiscence has been wallowing hard at the American box office, grossing nearly $2 million. for an estimated budget of 68 million. Therefore, the pedigree of its writers and headliners Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson will not be enough to compensate for its sinister reputation, as well as a certain disinterest on the part of the public. What if this tale of buried memories deserved a little better than being forgotten?
The biting irony of Reminiscence’s critical reception will not go unnoticed. Fully articulated around the concept of memory, the hero responsible for bringing back to his clients key moments in their lives, voluntarily or forcefully, the feature film will not be memorable. Indeed, Lisa Joy reads the codes of a high-tech thriller, with dilapidated sets, brutal and desperate characters, moral reversals, addictive tech principles, femme fatales and a dark past. The plot unfolds without brilliance but without boredom, without madness but without false notes.
Reminiscence is one of those films that is low slag, licky, technically flawless… and actually very anonymous. Paul Cameron, director on an episode of Westworld (a series for which the filmmaker is known) but above all responsible for photography some absolute aesthetic references like Collateral or Man on Fire, wisely highlights the flooded streets where the protagonists languish. fragile, without giving in to easy references to the classic genre.
Ramin Djawadi’s soundtrack remains very discreet, but doesn’t hesitate to give it courage, for example by extending the rhythm of the broken jukebox. Joy’s performances manage to give the story a certain breadth, including that during some of these nearly 2-hour mano a mano, it’s very fluid and even a bit inventive at times.
As for the casting, it was beyond reproach. Hugh Jackman clearly feels comfortable in the role of a melancholic veteran, haunted by his fleeting love affair. Rebecca Ferguson, with her usual talent, perfectly embodies a femme fatale that is too good to be true. Thandiwe Newton provides both physical and psychological counterpoint to the hero, while Cliff Curtis, adept at the sport, reveals the scars of the world’s decay with dexterity.
It’s hard not to start counting exercises. It’s clear: everyone is in their place. Except for classicism, the scenario ends up looking pretty mechanical. And while nothing is inherently annoying, the number of parts doesn’t inspire much. So we let ourselves be carried away, innocently, by this story, convinced that we had heard it several hundred times.
ON THE EDGE OF THE CHALLENGE
Perhaps it is not in the narrative that it is necessary to trace the quality of these Memories. Because behind the twists and turns of a comfortable thriller hides a description of a world that is constantly on the verge of being swallowed up. Of course, the idea of rising water victims in the near future is not very original, neither in cinema nor in comics. Nevertheless, there’s something fascinating about how this backdrop, highlighted by an incredibly pretty artistic direction, radiates, especially as it’s superimposed on all the layers of the feature film.
The opening, a lengthy digital forward-tracking shot, went against our expectations of a sci-fi proposition in the near future. Instead of starting from the present to uncover the decay of civilization, it begins further in the future, and returns to the time of the action, revealing from this foreground the fate of the presented universe.
Barely a few seconds passed, the story was already in the perspective of progressive and inevitable annihilation. This is before, not after. The events that separate us from the present with our feet in the water will never be shown, only told. The apocalypse that this world is slowly preparing for is not sudden, it is even more violent. It swallows, body and spirit.
Because of that, everyone was on the verge of drowning. The lasting memories where Nick proposes to drift away, are just another pair, bringing nostalgia. Threatened with swallowing the future, they prefer to allow themselves to be swallowed up by the past. For the rest, there are drugs, alcohol or of course love, which abduct our heroes like crushing waves. That’s when he decides to drown his characters, sometimes literally (the falling piano shots look like paintings) that the film holds up well for itself. And when they hit rock bottom, he finally bJesus breaks away, for a scene or two, from his classicism, for example through a wave of extraordinary cruelty.
We are far from a revolution, of course. But in an era of Hollywood where the near future has become somewhat of a pretext for scriptwriting classics, at least since Tony Stark made holograms the primary instrument of bad explanations, seeing studio products give so much importance to a much more interesting sci-fi treat. it is good, even if the results are quickly forgotten. A power proposal that sadly won’t prevent this intruder from disappearing in a summer full of dubious blockbusters from sinking fast. Here again, the irony bites. And a little sad.