In a waterlogged near future, a detective searched for a mysterious and alluring vanished woman. The barest bones of Reminiscence, the feature directorial debut of Lisa Joy (co-creator of Westworld), are steeped in noir. But the details of the premise are all science fiction: the detective, Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman), has a machine that accesses distant memories, and in his war-torn era, “nostalgia has become a way of life.”
Of course he’s about to get very nostalgic.
Reminiscence sure looks cool: all those water-covered streets, an incredible cast (including Thandiwe Newton and Daniel Wu), and a very impassioned Jackman. But you can take your pick of which other memory-focused SF films it reminds you of. For me, it’s Dark City (not least because of that shot of Ferguson as a lounge singer!) by way of Strange Days. It’s not new territory, exactly, but memory seems to be a fascination for Joy; some of Westworld‘s strongest narrative threads are about what the hosts do and don’t remember from their previous roles, and how memory shapes a person.
Here’s the official summary:
Nick Bannister (Jackman), a private investigator of the mind, navigates the darkly alluring world of the past by helping his clients access lost memories. Living on the fringes of the sunken Miami coast, his life is forever changed when he takes on a new client, Mae (Ferguson). A simple matter of lost and found becomes a dangerous obsession. As Bannister fights to find the truth about Mae’s disappearance, he uncovers a violent conspiracy, and must ultimately answer the question: how far would you go to hold on to the ones you love?
If the trailer has a bit of Westworld‘s sheen, it’s not just Joy’s involvement; she’s working with some of the Westworld crew, including director of photography Paul Cameron, production designer Howard Cummings, editor Mark Yoshikawa, composer Ramin Djawadi, and costume designer Jennifer Starzyk.
Reminiscence will be in theaters and on HBO Max on August 20, 2021.