If you’re a fan of film noir and want to introduce people to the genre, you’ll find Reminiscence offers a fantastic modern take on the genre. The film is narrated by the brooding voice of Jackman, waxing on about how the world has gone to hell and how nostalgia (memories) is now the commodity of choice.
Like all good noir, the story is laser-focused on the mysterious dame. Ferguson was born to play this role. It’s hard not to fall in love with Mae, and at the same time, feel that if she murdered you on the spot, you just lived a good life. However, as the truth is slowly uncovered, we never know her true motivations. The reminiscence machine is a fantastic device, not only to bring in flashbacks but also to add that these stories were told by the imperfect witness.
Reminiscence absolutely engaged me into Bannister’s quest to find answers, and Jackman finds the right level of obsession, never going too far over the top. His character’s military background makes the fistfights, gunplay, and parkour chases feel real. But make no mistake, Bannister is not a superhero. He gets his butt kicked on several occasions.
“…the real star here is Lisa Joy”
To me, the real star here is Lisa Joy. Her story is massive and complicated. The reminiscence machine is masterfully thought out and is integral to the story. She mapped out the limitations and dangers of the device to perfection. She also understands the genres she’s playing with, and the ending is the perfect blending of noir and sci-fi.
Then there’s the world-building. I love how the filmmaker built her post-war water-drenched world. The imagery is incredible, indelible, and well thought out with very few leaks (pun intended). How one travels through the streets of Miami and then to another city like New Orleans is more icing on the cake. When the movie started, I thought that they really didn’t need to build this world of the future, and by the conclusion, how could they not have. This world is not vital to the story, but it sets the right mood and tone, and in the end, proved to be absolutely necessary.
With Reminiscence, I am thankful for the return of a good noir, and adding the sci-fi angle makes it that much better. If you’ve longed for a good mystery thriller, then this is the film for you. The story will stay with you for quite some time after the credits roll.
"…thankful for the return of a good noir, and adding the sci-fi angle makes it that much better."