Review: Total Recall (2012)


The very definition of style over substance. As in, there isn’t any of the latter.

Douglas Quaid is a man unsatisfied with how his life has turned out, living in a distant future where Earth has been ravaged by war, and only two continents survive, the United Kingdom and Australia, connected by “The Fall”, a gigantic elevator through the centre of the Earth. Quaid visits “Rekall”, a place were you can have any memory you wish implanted, only to get more than he bargained for.

While based off the novel “We Can Remember it For You Wholesale” by Phillip K. Dick, this is actually a remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger film, with some swap-and-changed characters, settings and enemies (not to mention toned down for its 12A rating…) but the character’s story remains the same.

Total Recall is pretty vacuous. It is a “trailer film”, where the trailer sells it to you, but there isn’t anything else to see upon watching the movie. I must say I liked the world designs, the synthetic robot security, the places felt lived in and crammed with details. Okay, so these details are often ripped from Blade Runner, but I can’t pick apart everything!

My problem with the film is that after a while… I stopped caring. That is quite rare for me, I like my science fiction. The problem lies in the film’s total lack of ambiguity. You assume that this film toys with Quaid’s unknown identity, that he is never certain who he is? Well, Colin Farrell does a good job looking bewildered most of the time, but it is pretty clear who and what he is! The script hasn’t the intelligence or sophistication to dupe the audience, ever, the best it can do is pretend to. Red herrings with massive bells ringing on them!
Immediately, the story’s hook is neutralised, and you are simply watching bloodless robots getting mashed up, and occupy yourself with how brainless the world’s society and economics are.

Oh, and one thing that really gets my back up in films. Bad casting. Do not have two actresses who look near identical in your film, especially if the film revolves around ambiguity, false identities, relationship triangles and flashbacks!

I think if you are thirteen or fourteen you will enjoy this film a lot!

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