Run time: 99 mins
In Theaters: Friday 6th June 2014
Distributed by: Vertical Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 32%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 13
IMDB: 6.4 / 10
Director: Jorge Dorado
Producer: Jaume Collet-Serra, Peter Safran, Juan Sola, Mercedes Gamero
Screenwriter: Guy Holmes
Starring: Marios Demetriou as Stelios, Elena Efstathiou as Melpo, Imee Lysandriou as Mary, Spyros Stavrinidis as Mr. Michalis
With a premise that feels almost Inception-like, this brainy thriller plays around with memories in ways that continually shift the story and draw us in. The ending feels somewhat rushed, but the journey there is riveting and sometimes thoroughly unnerving, while a strong cast adds layers of interest.
In a near future, psychic detectives help solve crimes and cold cases by exploring people's memories. Although John (Mark Strong) lost his job when his own past tragedy intruded on his work at Mindscape, a top memory detective agency run by Sebastian (Brian Cox). Months later, Sebastian thinks John is ready to return to work, so assigns him a simple case to help the troubled 16-year-old Anna (Taissa Farmiga), whose mother and stepdad (Reeves and Dillane) are worried that she won't eat. Or maybe they're the problem. As John investigates her past memories, he begins to realise that she's an unusually smart and perceptive young woman.
Spanish filmmaker Jorge Dorado shot primarily in Barcelona, so the movie has an intriguingly European sheen, even though it's set in Middle America. Everything is insinuating and suspicious, twisting standard horror movie tricks in new ways that are both freaky and fascinating. Images of red roses and running water abound, with scenes photographed in familiar ways that make watching this film almost feel like an extended deja vu experience. In other words, this is a thoroughly entertaining nightmare that brings up tension and continually wrong-foots us about what's real and what isn't.
Of course this also means that we can't quite believe anything, which slightly undermines the tension. Thankfully, the cast is terrific, with first-rate actors like Strong, Cox, Reeves, Dillane and Taylor (as another memory detective) adding insinuating details to every scene, while Farmiga plays Anna as a girl who's clearly more knowing than anyone suspects. But as the conclusion peters out, it becomes clear that screenwriter Guy Holmes struggled to find an ending that would wow us. So this cleverly made film begins to resemble a shady memory: it's fun to visit, but we probably shouldn't trust it.