4/10 For those of you who may be unaware, writer/director Lisa Joy is the sister-in-law of Christopher Nolan. Her and her husband Jonathan Nolan are largely known for working on the once great HBO show “Westworld”, which drastically went downhill last season. The only reason her Christopher Nolan connection is relevant is because this movie borrows heavily from the more popular Nolan, yet Joy’s script ultimately comes up short. Before I get into details I will give credit where credit is due. The look of the film is impressive with a partially submerged, futuristic Miami as the setting. Much like “Westworld”, the state of the art technology and visuals are stunning to look at. The combination of science fiction and film noir is a great combination (see both “Blade Runner” films) and the mystery that comes along with the film noir aspect was intriguing. The score from “Westworld” and “Game of Thrones” composer Ramin Djawadi is strong and memorable. The cast does their best with the material given to them and even though they deserve a better script, they make the most with what they’re given. The concepts and ideas presented here are admirable and lofty. Which brings us to the movie’s problems; Joy’s reach exceeds her grasp. The biggest problem is that the entire movie hinges on Hugh Jackman’s character tracking down Rebecca Ferguson’s character, the woman he loves. He wants answers to what happened to her and will stop at nothing to find out the truth. Yet the problem with all of this is that we barely get to know Jackman’s character and their love and romance is so short lived and rushed that I had a very hard time believing he was as in love with her as the movie claims to be. Like two young Christians/Mormons, the movie wants us to believe they are madly in love after only a few months of dating, despite not showing us nearly enough of their relationship together. I also find it hard to believe that someone like Hugh Jackman would be single in Miami in the first place. Since I didn’t buy into their rushed relationship, I found trouble caring about the entire rest of the movie. Another big problem is how much the movie borrows from Christopher Nolan. The movie has shades of “Inception” (the water imagery, trying to save a love interest who the lead is obsessed with, a collapsing city), “Memento” (the entire concept of memory, which is central to this plot) and even “The Prestige” (another performance where Hugh Jackman’s character struggles due to his obsession). By borrowing so heavily from Nolan’s body of work, this movie often doesn’t feel like its own beast, but instead a “Nolan’s Greatest Hits” if you took bits and pieces of his work and threw them altogether into one movie. There were also certain moments that made no sense. Characters in the movie are able to look into people’s memories to figure out what happened in the past. If you have any memory, it is because you saw or experienced something. Yet in one memory scene in the movie, our protagonists are looking into a man’s memory while he is driving a car. A woman is in the backseat and looks back to mouth something. The woman in the backseat shouldn’t be in the memory at all because the person’s memory they are viewing was only looking forward while driving and she wasn’t even in his peripheral vision, meaning no part of him would have seen/remembered what she was doing so our characters shouldn’t be able to see either. Joy also struggles with directing the action scenes as one fight scene between two male characters later on in the movie felt very staged and their movements even a little slow. The first act of the movie has giant exposition dumps and even though film noirs are notorious for voiceovers, much of what was said could have been shown instead. In the end, the talented cast, beautiful visuals and solid score can’t make up for a jumbled mess of a script with underdeveloped characters that you won’t care about, mediocre action and the diet Nolan feel the entire movie has. Let’s hope Joy and her husband are able to get some help from Christopher moving forward.

#RemimissedTheMark / #LisaJoyless / #MaeTheBestManWin / #YouGetWattYouDeserve / #RushedAway / #WalkDownMemoryLame

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