Hugh Jackman’s “Reminiscence” Review: Better To Forget
On stage, Hugh Jackman is electrifying. On screen, he’s just another pretty face rendered mediocre in a maelstrom of Hollywood hokum. Whether he sings and dances like a mind-blowing combination of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly in sold-out Broadway musicals or wows his fans like Peter Allen in The boy of Oz, it has never been that dazzling. In films that criminally squander his unique talents, he’s never achieved the same status. The turgescent, hopelessly lost Reminiscence is a perfect example of what I mean. This movie is so bad that asking Hugh Jackman to raise it to a higher level is like asking Pavarotti to sing “Mairzy Doats”.
He plays Nick Bannister, a “mind private investigator” (whatever that means) in an apocalyptic futuristic Miami whose clients search for memories of the past by allowing him to stab them in the neck with hypodermic needles and then plunge them. in a water tank wearing headphones and shaking with electricity that sends them back in time as he delivers the most pretentious voiceover narration in years. Memories, he warns, – even good ones – have a voracious appetite. They can consume you. His favorite philosophical slogan, which he often repeats in case you should forget it, tells how moments in memories “are pearls in the necklace of time.” Ouch.
One night after closing, a pretty girl who can’t play (Rebecca Ferguson) persuades Nick and his alcoholic assistant (a lost Thandie Newton) to put her in the tank. Her name is Mae and she says she needs the procedure because she can’t find her car keys. (Huh?) In the scene she talks about, she wears a red dress cut to the last point allowed by the censors and sings “Where or When” by Rodgers and Hart. Nick becomes obsessed, but she disappears before he can ask for a second chorus.
He therefore spends nearly two hours of execution trying to recover it. He becomes haggard and dissipated, haunted by his own memories, and begins to spend his time in the water tank himself. His job is never clear, but it is in some way valuable to the prosecutor, who solves the crimes based on the clues that appear in the minds of Nick’s patients. Nick tracks down Mae in New Orleans, which looks like an alien planet, and a multitude of characters emerge, none of which have any connection to each other or anything that looks like a cohesive plot.
It’s not a New Orleans you might find on any map, but Nick still finds Mae there, surrounded by crooked cops, waterside rats, drug dealers and assorted killers. of all dimensions. Lots of mayhem and murder ensue, and – you guessed it – Mae sings “Where Or When” again. It hangs out, stacking scenes and memorabilia from every sci-fi and film noir epic in Blade runner To Chinese district, But who cares ? Nerdy script and static direction are both by Lisa Joy from the TV show Westworld. This is his first feature film. It will probably not be the last, but the hope is eternal.
Hugh Jackman’s loyal fans should be patient as they wait for his upcoming Broadway musical cover of The man of music. I can’t wait to see what he does as Professor Harold Hill, leading a parade down the aisle singing “76 trombones”. In the meantime, he should erase from his own memory anyone and anyone who advised him to appear in Reminiscence.
Observer Reviews are regular reviews of new and remarkable cinema.