Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, and Thandiwe Newton star in Reminiscence, a dystopian film-noir written and directed by Lisa Joy (HBO’s Westworld).
The Production: 3.5/5
No such thing as a happy ending.
In the not too distant future, Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) and business partner Emily “Watts” Sanders (Thandiwe Newton) have a machine that allows their clients, after submersing themselves in a sensory-depravation tank and applying electrodes to their skull, to relive past memories, and in some cases, retrieve lost ones. As they get ready to close up shop one evening, in walks Mae (Rebecca Ferguson), anxious to locate her lost keys. Nick and Watts agree to help this last minute walk-in, and after Mae leaves her earrings behind when at session concludes, Nick tracks her down and falls hard for her. So hard, that when she suddenly disappears seemingly into thin air, he becomes obsessed with reliving those memories in hopes of finding some clue as to her whereabouts. When the Assistant District Attorney hires Nick and Watts to help with retrieving memories from a comatose suspect, Nick may have found the clue he was looking for, one that will lead him down a dark path that will unearth a deadly secret.
At times, Reminiscence feels a bit too familiar, often borrowing heavily from films like Minority Report,
Blade Runner, The Matrix, Inception, Waterworld, and its plot feels like a retread futuristic Vertigo. Overall, it is still an exciting ride for a more mature audience (begging the question as to why a PG-13 rating), and production designer Howard Cummings (Westworld, The Long Kiss Goodnight) keeps it visually interesting. It is an impressive debut feature for writer-director Lisa Joy, despite the often confusing and convoluted second act that mostly comes together in the end (one of my main complaints about Joy’s HBO series Westworld).
3D Rating: NA
Reminiscence was captured digitally in 3.4k resolution on Arri Alexa Mini and Sony CineAlta Venice cameras and completed as a 4K digital intermediate in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio with Dolby Vision high dynamic range for its premium theatrical engagements and its day and date 30-day limited run on HBO Max. Warner is releasing the film on 4K UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD, and the studio shipped a copy on Blu-ray for review. The AVC-encoded 1080p transfer is very good, pushing the format to its limits. Colors are vivid with natural flesh tones without appearing over-saturated. Detail is very good, highlighting fabric textures, facial features, and the decaying and peeling walls of Howard Cummings’ sets. Contrast is also very good, with deep blacks, but shadow details during some of the darker sequences are sometimes murky.
The default Dolby Atmos track is nicely immersive without being showy or gimmicky. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout, moving around the viewing area with precision. Surrounds are very active when needed, and LFE is strong. Heights are used for atmospherics, occasional discrete effects, and music extensions of Ramin Djawadi’s score. In typical Warner fashion, a redundant lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track is included.
Special Features: 3/5
You’re Going on a Journey (1080p; 4:07): An EPK-style trailer for the film features the cast and writer-director Lisa Joy discussing the themes of the film with lots of clips from the movie.
The Sunken Coast (1080p; 7:05): A look at the futuristic Miami that has been overtaken by flooding caused by global warming.
“Reminiscence:” A Family Reunion (1080p; 8:14): Many members of the cast and crew worked together previously on the HBO series Westworld, and here they discuss working together on Reminiscence.
Save My Love Music Video (1080p; 4:41)
A Letter from Director Lisa Joy: A folded insert (on card stock) from Lisa Joy, explaining how the film is a personal journey for her.
Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem an HD digital copy on Movies Anywhere.
Reminiscence is an exciting yet derivative ride that looks and sounds great on Blu-ray.
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