Original review featured on the Doha Film Institute website.

Film: Total Recall
Year: 2012
Director: Len Wiseman
Stars: Colin Farrell, Bokeem Woodbine and Bryan Cranston
Running Time: 118 min

This week Doha’s theatres new releases include the remake of the 1990 classic – “Total Recall”. With Colin Farrel as Schwarzenegger, the film‘s perceptual journey is of a confused agent, chased for a reason he ignores because of his fuzzy memories in between two opposite worlds. Where does the truth lie when imagination and reality are confused? Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrel) has to follow his instinct to find out.

Quaid is an ordinary man of a less privileged whereabouts called the ‘Colony’. Like many others, he travels for work daily through a gravity elevator called ‘The Fall’ to the powerful country of The United Federation of Britain (UFB). Set in the future, these are the only two places where human beings could live, now that the rest of the world is demolished because of chemical wars.

Quaid has a recurrent dream of being chased by the police, and is suffering from a general feeling of dissatisfaction due to his extremely monotonous life, even though he is married to a beautiful woman he loves (Kate Beckinsale). His instinct guides him into making drastic changes by adding a taste of adventure to his days; this is where he decides to implant false memories through a company called ‘Rekall’. He can be anyone he wants, and he decides to have the memory of a secret agent.

During the technical process things go unexpectedly wrong, and Quaid finds himself attacked by authorities. He is now in a limbo of worlds; the one he remembers and the one said to be erased. With all the confusion of memory and identity, he has to trust his own susceptibility to events and people. While trying to escape imprisonment, he teams up with a rebel (Jessica Biel) in an attempt to save the colony from destruction and slavery.

With the “Dark Knight Rises” praising governmental institutions in its majority, this film doesn’t. The word colony itself revives notions of discrimination and slavery. Even the colour palette accentuates the fraction – the colony is always portrayed in dark colors with no sign of any sunlight.
The frustration within the inhabitants of the colony leads to the formation of a resistance group trying to destroy “The Fall”, this symbolic bridge that takes advantage of their resources, provides unambitious work opportunities for very little money.

Yes the plot seems intriguing with a modern sci-fi twist of big revolutionary ideas. But they remain concepts borrowed from a classic – under-developed and lost in endless chase scenes. They scratched the surface of some very interesting dialogues about the difference in modern terminology between resistance and terrorism. We wanted more of these discussions and of the mental conditions due to natural or induced amnesia. The best I immediately recall in brain interventions are “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “Memento”- where actions is based on the memory patterns.

Do you agree with our suggestions or would you prefer a purely action-filled movie? If you’re familiar with the 1990 version of the film, we’d also like to know what you think of the remake.

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