Movies: Total Recall (2012)

Bladerunner meets Inception in this adaptation of Philip K. Dick's "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" by way of 1990's Schwarzenegger film of the same name.

The production design of this film is amazing, enough to make me wish I'd seen it on the big screen. But the movie itself had a slow start and, despite the high concept and mind-bending tactics, failed to fully hold my attention.

It has been ages since I read the story, just as long since I saw the Schwarzenegger movie, so I'm useless for comparison. The dialogue here is pretty awful, but movies like this one are all about show rather than tell.

In short, Colin Farrell plays mild-mannered Doug Quaid, an assembly line worker plagued by nightmares. He decides to go to Rekall to have some fun new memories implanted (because maybe then he'll sleep better?). He chooses a spy fantasy and everything goes to hell.

The question here is supposed to be: which is real? Is Quaid just an average guy on a mental adventure, or is he really a spy (named Carl Hauser) whose true memories have been sparked by his visit to Rekall? It's a cool idea, but in this incarnation the story is made heavy and dark and might have benefitted from a little levity. The clunky dialogue and rampant miscasting (Bryan Cranston? And Farrell and Jessica Biel have zero chemistry) detract and distract throughout. Total Recall truly seems to be tapping Bladerunner in terms of tone and set design but is not quite engaging enough to reach that supreme level of sci-fi achievement.

No comments: