By David Villafranca
Los Angeles, Aug 25 (EFE).- Nostalgia becomes a cryptic and suffocating trap in “Reminiscence,” an ambitious film in which Hugh Jackman suffers the problems of taking refuge in an idealized past to forget both the present and the future.
“Living too much in the past is probably not a very healthy thing,” said Jackman in an interview with EFE.
“Reminiscence” hits Spanish theaters this weekend with Lisa Joy making her debut as director of a film after having triumphed with “Westworld” – which she co-created with her husband Jonathan Nolan, the brother of British-American film director and producer Christopher Nolan.
As in that cable television series, Joy uses science-fiction in “Reminiscence” as an excuse to speak about current issues like the climate crisis, memory and loneliness in a film that has links with other iconic sci-fi epics like “Minority Report” (2002) and “Inception” (2010).
Jackman stars in the role of Nick, who in a Miami flooded by sea level rise and completely given over to nocturnal existence, has a business that enables his clients to technologically recreate their best memories to flee from a desperate and depressing present.
The dilemmas for Nick begin when a mysterious and captivating woman named Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) disappears from his life.
Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis and Marina de Tavira round out the cast in this somber and turbulent film that, with a plot loaded with metaphors, pays homage to film noir with a detective obsessed with finding his own particular “femme fatale.”
Question: Why can nostalgia and looking back at the past be something attractive and seductive?
Answer: You know, I think this movie is very relevant to what’s happening today. I think that so many people are struggling, with mental health and other issues, and also just a feeling of loss. Of time lost, of events lost, of graduations, weddings, whatever it is … The whole planet’s been through, collectively, this … difficult period.
And so, if I was to offer people on the planet today a chance to, every day, go in and literally relive the best moments of their lives, it’s very, very tempting. I’d be tempted to do it, for sure.
But, as you can see in the movie, living too much in the past is probably not a very healthy thing.
Q: Have we lost faith and hope in the future? Are we a very pessimistic society?
A: (After thinking a few moments) I’m not a very pessimistic person. I’m an optimistic person. I think (though) that it’s a pretty compelling argument to think that things are looking pretty bleak … in many, many areas.
There’s no doubt about the challenges facing us. Climate change and many, many areas of life and this planet … It’s super, super challenging. And … it’s going to take a collective effort. But I think there’s a feeling of exhaustion. I sense that. And so, yeah, nostalgia is a very comforting place to be.
Q: As in “Westworld,” Lisa Joy uses science-fiction in “Reminiscence” to make a social commentary about our world.
A: So, Lisa came and said she just wanted to talk me through the ideas of the film, how she wrote the film, before I read the script. It’s an unusual thing, normally you’d read it before you meet the director. And I then read the script and I was 20 pages in, having had the meeting with her, and I knew I was doing it. I rang my agent and said “I’m doing this movie.”
Because she just kind of gives off such an air of confidence and knowledge about the story and why she’s telling it and what she wants to say. And I think she’s someone who … It’s her first feature film, but she’s been doing this for a long time.
So, I’m really excited to see the movies … she’s going to make in the future … but she is sort of at the top of her game and I found her to be, as I said, confident, intelligent, open and very creative because she was very open to actors’ suggestions and … a great team player, a great leader, really, of the team.
Q: How were the “noir” elements played with in a sci-fi picture like “Reminiscence”?