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Total Recall Review

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Total Recall
Cast:Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston
Direction:Len Wiseman
Production:Neal H. Moritz, Toby Jaffe
Music:Harry Gregson-Williams
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Total Recall Review - Good VFX but nothing much to recall

IndiaGlitz  [Saturday, August 04, 2012]


Rating: ***
Is this life real or an illusion? Time and again Hollywood has churned out movies based on this one line plot. Same opt for a dramatic narrative a few have gone and taken a philosophical take while a film like 'Total Recall' makes it an out and out action flick. Does the decision work? Oh yes, it does. An out and out racy flick where you find yourself in a different world altogether, 'Total Recall' grabs your attention for those two hours and even though at times you do pine for some break from guns blazing all around, you don't quite mind that as the promos has pretty much set expectations about what would be in store.
Colin Farrell plays an assembly line factory work who feels there is much more that life could offer than being holed in a stuffy house, drinking cheap beer and finding no job satisfaction whatsoever. Meanwhile he has dreams of being separated from a mysterious woman (Jessica Biel) as well, which continue to haunt him no less despite a beautiful wife and companion (Kate Beckinsale) to ease him out. As he plans to bring some spice in his life by taking a trip through 'Total Rekall' (and not 'recall', in fact), it turns out that not just both women had some connect in his life through past and present, even he is someone else altogether.
'Who am I?' - Now this is again a formula that many a film has explored in past and present. However what sets apart 'Total Recall' is the fact that it is an out and out VFX affair that throws in several pulsating moments that ensure that you keep munching the popcorn while being glued to the screen. The stage is set from the very beginning with Colin's dream but what takes the cake is the journey through the centre of earth that commuters take from one continent to another. It is truly imaginative with 'shift in gravity' factor bringing its own dimension.
Moreover there is action arriving at regular junctions. Whether it is Colin's sudden encounter with cops after realising that he is (and was) a spy to the Parkour sequence that follows amidst the ruins to the one when he finds himself entrapped between reality and delusion to the extraordinary car chase that happens in the skies to the sequence when a chase ensues in the middle of hundreds of elevators (moving in vertical as well as horizontal direction) to the explosive climax, one can count many scenes that don't fail to entertain.
(Spoilers ahead) In the middle of this all there is fair bit of drama added as well with one particular sequence where Colin finally finds himself at the crossroads to trust Jessica or shoot her. It is indeed a nail biting moment in the film though one also has to make special mention of the many clues that Colin registers for himself before his memory is erased. One has to make a special mention of the piano sequence; it is truly well placed in the film.
The only thing that doesn't really strike you hard is the entire suspense factor and the role that Colin had to play as a double agent. It turns out to be way too convenient and if only director Len Wiseman could have insisted for a better twist from his team of writers, the film would have carried certain depth to it as well. Here, at the end of it all, 'Total Recall' turns out to be an out and out VFX film with not much in it that would make it stand tall amongst the must watch flicks this season.
This is the reason why even from performance perspective there isn't much that any of the three lead actors had to offer. Colin, who is generally terrific in dramatic outings, plays the action part well but doesn't quite get an opportunity to demonstrate histrionics. Kate Beckinsale plays her 'kicking part' well and is good in the action scenes. However one would have preferred her characterisation to be a tad better written. As for Jessica, she is there for a good portion of the film but surprisingly doesn't manage to register much impact other than being Colin's shadow for most part of her screen time.
Still, even though the film doesn't quite warrant a repeat viewing, for those two hours that it plays, it does give you your money's worth.

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