Lisa Joy is taking her first steps on the big screen. Director and screenwriter Westworld introduces Reminiscence, a film noir that resembles Inception. Is the feature film with Hugh Jackman worth seeing? Critical.
Known for the series Westworld , Lisa Joy made her first foray into the world of cinema with Reminiscence . This time, filmmakers and screenwriters did it themselves or almost. If her husband was in production, it was she who gave birth to this ambitious project.
In a dystopian future, the environmental crisis has developed to such an extent that Miami is drowning in the waves. Nick Bannister, a private detective, has developed a machine capable of traveling through a patient’s memories. During his latest affair, he fell in love with his client. When she suddenly disappears, he sets out to find her and explore the memories of everyone who knows her. But who is he really?
In her feature film, Lisa Joy paints a picture of a society on the verge of collapse after an unprecedented war and climate catastrophe that looks like the end of the world. From the very first moment, the director plunges us into a fascinating universe, where the characters are forced to live at night to endure the exhausting heat of the world. This initial premise, explored quite well in the introduction, allows the screenwriter and director to lay the groundwork for the plot.
While humanity must decide to live in darkness, the only light is in the past. This ambient nostalgia, the procession of the rich in feature films, allows filmmakers to offer reflections on the passage of time. Unfortunately, if the approach is commendable, it’s clear that this film has not always excelled in its business. Because this post-apocalyptic world is just the setting for an intrigue largely inspired by the black films of the 50s.
In addition, Reminiscence doubles the visual appreciation for the genre, starting with its character displays. Hugh Jackman wore the famous black raincoat, reminiscent of the main character M the Cursed by Fritz Lang to name just a few; subtle references to films that seem to have influenced filmmakers. Visually, Reminiscence was a minor success, with a chiaroscuro atmosphere and inspired photography.
But now, if this mix of genres is a recipe for pictures, it’s more complicated in terms of plot. The screenplay is sorely lacking in panache and fails to address its multiple sources of inspiration. Stitched with white thread, the narrative struggles to be convincing, especially when poured into melodrama. This feeling is amplified by the presence of a voice actor, a hallmark of the genre, who gives talks about the mysteries of time and memories that pass by. This is quite destructive because the idea on paper is so good. We also regret the many scriptwriting shortcuts Lisa Joy has taken, and her lack of consideration for the laws of physics and biology, we won’t say more to preserve the tension. By wanting to pay homage to several genres,
Visually, as we said above, Reminiscence is nothing to be ashamed of. Aided by inventive photography, feature films benefit from a wealth that is quite rare for this genre. The management of the setting is interesting and we got caught up in this nighttime exploration of post-apocalyptic Venice. However, the editing too often makes the copy perfect. We’ll also note certain problems with the spatialization of the action, particularly during battle scenes. Thankfully, it wasn’t the good intentions of a Lisa Joy movie that relied on the latent mystery of the female character’s disappearance to create the recipe.
To play the main character, Lisa Joy is called a regular in the genre. Hugh Jackman, who featured prominently in The Prestige of Christopher Nolan, didn’t fail in his mission and used all the intensity of the game he could afford. He faces the charming Thandiwe Newton, who is once again showing his talent on camera. She was at the peak of her performance at Westworld, we regret that her time on screen was eclipsed by Rebecca Ferguson. Still on the same note, the actress struggles to reinvent herself and her performance in Reminiscence doesn’t bode well for Dune. The rest of the cast isn’t very effective, starting with the main antagonist.
Lastly, we note the return of Ramin Djawadi to writing original music. The composer, who has worked on Westworld and Game of Thrones, offers some beautiful lyrics but is far from all memorable. He reconnected with more electric sounds and sometimes came close to what he had done for Iron Man, the first of the name, without ever matching them.
Wanting to do too much, Reminiscence missed his shot. Thoughthe film has a strong visual argument, it fails to establish itself as a gripping epic; narrative errors sewn with white thread and casting are not always inspired. On paper, Lisa Joy’s first feature film had it all, but the impression the film left in the end was far from indelible.