REMINISCENCE – Review by Susan Granger

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Set sometime in a dystopian future in water-logged Miami – reflecting climate change and rising tides – the pulpy story introduces Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman), who – with his partner Watts (Thandiewe Newton) – operates a flotation tank in which people can retrieve selective memories from their past.

These memories – archived in Nick’s vault on glass discs – are projected in hologram-like 3-D visual recordings.

“Time is no longer a one-way stream…Memory is the boat that sails against its current, and I’m the oarsman,” Nick declares in a repetitive voice-over. “The past is just a series of moments, each one perfect, complete, a bead on the necklace of time…Nothing is more addictive than the past.”

When the doorbell rings, into Nick’s scruffy life steps a Femme Fatale (Rebecca Ferguson). The dame’s named Mae. She’s a sultry cabaret singer, specializing in torch songs. She says she can’t find her keys, but it’s abundantly obvious that she’s after Nick. But why?

A convoluted conspiracy revolves around corrupt slumlord Walter Sylvan (Brett Cullen), his wife (Marina de Tavira), his mistress (Angela Sarafyan) and his sniveling son (Mojean Aria) – plus a drug kingpin (Daniel Wu), peddling an addictive opiate called ‘baca.’

So what went wrong on this South Beach jog down memory lane?

Perhaps it’s because first time feature writer/director Lisa Joy, who co-created HBO’s Westworld with her husband, Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan’s brother, wrote a clunky, cliché-filled, confusing script – plus, her predictably melodramatic pacing plods.

Although Ferguson and Jackman previously teamed in The Greatest Showman, there’s little on-screen chemistry with more talk than action.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, “Reminiscence” is a frustrating, forgettable 5, available in theaters (if you want to risk the Delta variant) or on HBO Max.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.