Total Recall: Movie Review

Review: As much as we hate to admit it, most of us aren’t 100% convinced that the rumors about doomsday are false. This futuristic film, on the contrary, travels 72 years into the future and gives us a glimpse of what the world would be like then. An average car flies, doors and cupboards open at just a tap, and you needn’t bother about misplacing your mobile because all you need to do is to touch your ear and voila – you’re on that urgent call.
Most of the Earth is inhabitable in 2084, except two hemispheres, known as UFB (United Federation of Britain) and ‘The Colony’ which is composed of Russians, Asians, etc. Workers travel from one part to the other on a huge elevator in a span of a few seconds and even experience reverse gravity in this elevator! All the effects are highly fascinating for someone who has not seen the original Total Recall (1990) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone which fared well at the time of it’s release.
In this film, a remake of sorts, Colin Farrell replaces Arnold Schwarzenegger as Doug Quaid, a distressed factory worker and a citizen of “The Colony”, yes that’s what they’re referred to as. He’s dissatisfied with his job and hasn’t been appreciated or bagged a promotion he deserves despite overworking. To aggravate the matters at hand, he gets a recurring nightmare.
Attempting to seek some solace from his daily grinding routine, he visits Rekall, a corporation that implants their clients with a different identity, memory and the kind of life that only perhaps exists in a superficial world like it was a dream. One can be whatever he/she wants to be, an alien, an  athlete, a secret agent, you think and before you know it, you’re armed with a different life and a new set of exciting memories. While this sounds magical and maybe masked as a solution, Rekall is nothing but a drug which intoxicates and induces escapist fantasies that are highly fatal!
Our protagonist decides he wants to be a secret agent and once he returns home from his holiday, he learns that his wife, Lori (Kate Beckinsale) too is a secret agent. Then begin the chase sequences, a whole lot of action and drama every few  minutes or so. Amidst all this, he runs into his savior – Melina (Jessica Biel), a rebellious agent with whom he seems to have been romantically involved at some point. The rest of the film involves him as the secret agent running from the police, trying to figure out his mission and gauging what’s real.
Thankfully, our lead actor is as vulnerable as a real person is and isn’t a too-good-to-be-true, paragon of virtue. Doug’s character is lost, disturbed and even traumatized and Farrell does this to the best of his abilities and successfully even makes the viewer empathize with him. Kate Beckinsale has also proved her mettle as she switches from the affectionate wife to a monster in nano-seconds. She accordingly modulates her voice, her long hair makes her look even more terrorizing and of course, the ease with which she pulls off an action scene/fight sequence make her a fabulous actress, examples of which one has seen in the Underworld series. Vilos Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) as the antagonist doesn’t have much of a part despite being a powerful leader of both the hemispheres.
Jessica Biel as Melina is stunning and yet another superb action heroine in the making. Len Wiseman’s intent to remake the spellbinding 1990 film is absolutely understandable as the plot itself is a very intriguing one. The themes covered in the film are varied and include everything right from what would happen a few years from now if a nation becomes a superpower and that would imply history repeating itself.
The film has philosophical undertones and explores the problem with illusions and the repercussions of escapism. We long to break out of our monotonous lives which are empty, the most convenient retreat being our dreams. Not that there’s a harm in that but the problem occurs when we become delusional. Indirectly, the film even questions a technologically-advanced world which furthermore leads to more materialism and destruction.
But it seems like no force can stop you from feeling like shutting off after a point, the film has its highs but after a point starts to drag through the second half. It seems too exaggerated but the truth is, the world is already on the path of becoming what is transpired in the film, a few decades from now. Maybe our disinterest towards the film indicates our attitude to the consequences that lie in store for our planet if we continue following the path we are on presently. The film’s title, Total Recall could be perceived as an anti-thesis in reference to two factors, namely, Farrell’s mind after he gets injected with his alternate life and the audiences wishes during the film’s second half.
With lesser dialogues, excessive action sequences which seem endless, a soundtrack that seems to faintly resemble a recently released superhero film, and cinematography which is full of dim shots and towering lit-up buildings, the film only ends up tiring you. Honestly, I’d advise you to watch the original Total Recall unless you’re a geek who’d watch a film for it’s special effects for a period of approximately 1 hour 47 minutes.
Verdict: Had this film been differently executed, it would have made a brilliant documentary, if you plan to catch this, kindly do yourself a favor and don’t expect to be entertained.

Kanika Rajani 

Movie Details:
Cast and Crew: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho, Bill Nighy
Director: Len Wiseman
Writer: Kurt Wimmer
Length: 1 hour 47 minutes

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