Film Review: Total Recall [2012]

“What would I do with Jessica Biel?”

Thus said Wife-unit at the end of Total Recall and I again remembered how pointless marriage is because invariably the other person says things like this and you just have to wonder what the hell goes on in their heads.

She added to the crimes against the imagination:

“She’s just that crappy boyish-looking actress from a dreadful sitcom about American Christians.”

Let’s be honest, and admit that there is something fundamentally immoral about remaking movies after only 25 years. If we don’t oppose this now, we’ll have a remake of Jurassic Park in three years with Peppa the Pig playing Lex and Justin Bieber as Hammond. But if the film studio has gone to great lengths to go and make the damn thing I suppose the least we can do is pay to watch it. And in this case really enjoy it. And actually decide it is much better than the original.

The design of the movie is a visual treat. If you are a fan of the stupendous blog Fuck Yeah Brutalism then you’ll enjoy the sets in Total Recall. Brutalism in the sky! Also, Colin Farrell is made for these kinds of gigs. He hasn’t got the acting chops (one presumes) to star across from Philip Seymour Hoffmann in an adaptation of a Philip Roth novel. But he can look moody and leap at things as good as Tom Cruise (and much better than Arnie).

The plot of Total Recall is truly ingenious, as one would expect for a story by the insane Christian storyteller, Philip K. Dick. And its sleek little premise is handled pretty well right up till the end when epistemology is dumped in favour of Oprah style follow your heart shite. But let me be clear, especially for Declan, if you are going to this movie to inspire a philosophical conversation about ethics, then you will be very annoyed because 43% of its running time consists of Kate Beckinsale glowering down the camera lens with immaculate hair.

The auld lad from Love Actually is a Messianic rebel leader. Thankfully he isn’t in it long enough to ruin the fun.

In the end, a film about the permeability of memory achieves a certain classic status by being perfectly enjoyable in the moment and hard to remember a day later.

Your Correspondent, Happiness is good health and a bad memory.

One Reply to “Film Review: Total Recall [2012]”

  1. While you barbarians were guzzling down the latest blockbuster that Hollywood has regurgitated your way, I was sipping wine and sampling some exotic cheeses at the arthouse screening of “Samsara”.

    I loathe myself.

    By the way, 43% Kate Beckinsale sounds fine by me. The phenomenon of instantly forgettable cinema, however, is…wait – I’m doing it again.

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