Written, directed and produced by Westworld EP Lisa Joy, Reminiscence is a science-fiction thriller that features Hugh Jackman as former soldier Nick Bannister, now running a facility where people can revisit their memories in a tank filled with water, fantastical technology explained away with a throwaway remark. Like in so many futuristic films, the “how” doesn’t matter here.
Does Reminiscence decide on a genre? Absolutely not. After some vague, nonspecific world-building at the start, it could easily be a buddy dramedy if the story focused more on the relationship between Nick and his colleague, Watts (Thandiwe Newton, desperately trying to disguise her accent). But no — enter Mae (Rebecca Ferguson, with a surprisingly excellent singing voice). She begins a fling with Nick, which culminates in her mysterious disappearance — hence the main conflict.
Reminiscence boils down to a very simple story: boy meets girl. Girl disappears. Boy looks for girl (but with a sci-fi twist). Jackman offers some over-dramatic, and often unnecessary narration that walks us through every single move Nick Bannister makes. It’s a decent enough mystery, but all the twists are expected, and it gets rather convoluted at times — the story could’ve worked better if it were simpler.
I can’t argue with the ending, though — it would make rewatching an entirely different experience. It may not be worth it, though…Reminiscence is, unfortunately, not a movie I would actively seek out, but it could have been much worse. The puzzle pieces are all there, and with so much potential and talent involved, it should have worked out. I just simply can’t find a memory where it did. [Grade: C]