The word reminiscence is a noun meaning a story told about a past event remembered by the narrator. Looking back on memories can be a powerful tool evoking all kinds of emotions. But what if that was all you had to go on? What if those memories can be used as weapons if they fall into the wrong hands? What if one's memories are inaccurate?
Sometime in the near future, global warming has wreaked havoc on the Earth, and cities like Miami have been flooded as the ocean reclaims the land. With temperatures during the day rising to almost unbearable levels, Miami has become a mostly nocturnal place. People go about their lives and routines but sometimes they need a reminder of a past moment or two. A happy moment that leaves one feeling elated, angry, sad, melancholy, or shaken.
Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman; The Greatest Show) and his partner, Watts, (Thandie Newton; Westworld) use leftover equipment from the war to "guide" their clients back into their memories of happier times. When a mysterious woman named Mae (Rebecca Ferguson; Dune) shows up late one evening claiming to need help finding her keys, Nick lets her climb into the tank. Once inside her memory, he finds himself fascinated by Mae. Months later, Mae is suddenly gone, and Nick is willing to do almost anything to find her.
This isn't the first time Jackman and Ferguson have starred together in a feature film. In The Greatest Showman, He portrayed P.T. Barnum and she was Jenny Lind, a British singer Barnum brought to the United States to tour. The two actors have an undeniable chemistry that sizzles just below the surface which is exactly what Reminiscence needs to be believable. Newton, while seemingly always the third wheel, makes her presence known every time she is on screen. The trio make the movie what it is with an assist from several actors in much smaller roles.
Even though much of this film plays out in the dark of night the details are still sharp and defined. The 1080p video quality offers excellent visuals, making the movie slightly more enjoyable than it would be otherwise. This aspect can be both a blessing and a curse to the movie as writer/director Lisa Joy (Westworld) offers vivid close-ups as well as vast, sweeping wide shots of a flooded Miami backdrop that sets the tone yet sometimes feels fake.
However, the Dolby Atmos audio is the stronger of the two technical aspects and since much plot relies on what lurks in the shadows or what is seen and heard in one's memories, it only makes sense that the audio quality would need to be superior. The slightest sound is evident, and the noises, voices, and ambient sound resonate from every speaker, surrounding the viewer.
The combo pack only offers about 30 minutes of extras and those that are included aren't all the special. They include a digital code, You're Going on a Journey, The Sunken Coast, Crafting a Memory, Reminiscence: A Family Reunion, and Save My Love. The set also includes a letter from Joy discussing how the movie was a personal journey for her, which is rarely seen by a director.
The acting talent can carry this movie only so far but eventually, the disjointed and clichéd script falls apart so much that nothing can save it. What starts off as an intriguing idea quickly falls into stereotypical tropes, making one's interest in the film falter.
Joy has had a great bit of success as a producer for television series but as her feature film debut, Reminiscence should not have been the vehicle she chose.
The movie is okay but...just okay.