Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Reminiscence. Don’t read on unless you want some of the movie’s major plot points ruined.
Reminiscence centers around the idea that, in truth, we’re all just longing for the past. Warner Bros.’ dystopian noir stars Hugh Jackman as Nick Bannister, a sort of memory concierge who, for the right price, is happy to put you in touch with simpler times. Here’s our own A.A. Dowd describing the process in his review:
“They slip on an electronic halo, settle into a bed of shallow water, and are lulled into a state of posthypnotic remembrance; they become like the Precogs of Minority Report, except that it’s not premonitions of what’s to come but vivid flashes of what already has that run through their heads and are projected holographically as they slumber, a little show for their hired conjurer of lost experiences.”
Sounds cool, but how would it all work? And how would Bannister—who decides to spend the rest of his life in the tank at the end of the movie—actually be sustained, changed, or exercised?
For an answer, we went to the source: Jackman himself. In the video interview below, he answers all our questions about the war that predates Reminiscence, Miami’s struggle with climate change, and about that darn tank. As he explains, “Let’s just imagine that somehow it’s sanitary. People can stay alive and live in this semi-comatose state within their heads, reliving parts of their life.” He continues:
“I think it’s somewhat sad, but also understandable that for many people, this life is just too much to bear. Maybe they have a terminal disease and they don’t want to live the remaining years in pain. They want to live there for whatever reason. I think it’s it’s understandable that people might want to do that. And at the same time, the movie is a cautionary tale. But let’s just assume there’s IVs. There’s somehow food.”
Reminiscence director Lisa Joy—who also co-created HBO’s Westworld—has a similar answer, telling us in the video below that “We talked about it with the production designer and we have all the tubes, but we were like, ‘We shouldn’t draw our eye to this facet of it, because we’re trying to focus on the emotion on the face.’” She elaborated, “For me, the liquids that the people are in are nurturing for the skin and the exterior body, but, yeah, they’d have to be fed through a tube and all sorts of nitty gritty that I chose to not focus for the film itself… It would basically be how we keep people in comas alive. You have to really help them regulate their bodily functions, and the tank itself is supposed to be a little like a sensory deprivation tank in terms of its viscosity.”