Total Recall – Movie Review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on August 3, 2012 | No Comments
PRODUCER – Neal H. Moritz, Toby Jaffe
DIRECTOR – Len Wiseman
WRITER – Kurt Wimmer, Mark Bomback (Based on”We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick)
CAST – Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho, Bill Nighy
MUSIC – Harry Gregson-Williams
Schwarzenegger’s 1990’s, multi-award-winning film Total Recall gets a remake with Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel revisiting the lead roles. Mars is out of the picture but what takes its place is a disturbingly possible world of 2084, politically divided after the third World War and fighting for supremacy. The world is divided into two parts, the United Federation of Britain and The Colony with the former trying to take complete control over the latter.
The film stays true to the story of its original film where secret agent Doulgas Quaid (Colin Farrell) is trying to reconnect the pieces of his past life. Perceived as a threat for defecting to the Resistance by Calhagan, the Prime Minister for whom he was working for, his has been memory wiped off. He finds himself working in a hi-tech company in The Colony wondering at his existence and chooses to visit a fake-memory implanting company Rekall, to escape the boredom of his life. But the process triggers old memories and before it can be completed, Quaid is wrapped in a trigger-happy ambush by the police unleashing a race for survival and finding out the truth about his own identity. His wife of seven years Lori (Kate Beckinsale) turns foe but he is rescued by a stranger Melina (Jessica Biel) whom he vaguely recalls as familiar. A series of clues and a lot of violence follows through which Quaid makes his way to find the truth about Calhagan, Mathias, the resistance leader, Lori, Melina and himself.
Full of sound and fury, Total Recall creates a superbly crafted visual experience in its imaginative futurism and frantic action pieces. Created by production designer Patrick Tatopoulos, the world of 2084 lives in multi-layered cities, growing vertically and seems to be an incredibly fascination technological marvel of creation. The Colony is largely ghettoised, squalid and rainy while the UFB is the glossy and shiny part of the world. The Fall, the only means of transport that connects both is a cross between a space-ship, airplane and elevator and is designed with a stunning detail and class. Just to watch such imagination unfold on the scene is a balm to eyes sore with video-game worlds, the best most futuristic films offer. Captured in almost monochromatic browns and greys the visual effect gets only heightened, greatly helped by some dramatic music by Harry Gregson-Williams.
Yet it refuses to become more as the film grows into the thick of its drama and suspense. Quaid’s confusion and urge to discover his identity is a thread that doesn’t invoke much drama or tension, both being relegated to the chase and actions sequences to evoke. The questions of who is playing what game is imminent but the film, rather ignorantly, continuously points to a pre-set answer taking all the fun of the tension away. Colin Farrell’s Quaid is by far a better actor than his predecessor, more vulnerable and capable of drawing out the complexity of his character, yet he isn’t given enough meat to chew on. However, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel are breath-taking in their action sequences and the manner in which they justify the importance of their characters in the film. Both have a strong personality and they draw from there to portray power and energy that is as much a mainstay as that of the male characters. If only the film had a richer narrative.
Total Recall is a surfeit experience for science fiction and action fans if we merely seek an action dose. The fact that, it fails to provide any emotional connect or strong enough intrigue makes it a far less satisfying one.