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To use a Hitchcockian term, the McGuffin in Jose Nestor Marquez‘ low-budget sci-fi thriller is the “Oubli,” a high-tech earpiece that, when connected to an app on a cellphone, enables the user to relive his/her most joyous memories. It’s an intriguing concept, and one that doesn’t actually seem too far-fetched in these speedily advancing technological times. Unfortunately, despite its clever premise, Reversion is unlikely to be one of those treasured memories that viewers will want to revisit.
The plot centers on Sophie (Aja Naomi King, How to Get Away with Murder), the marketing director for the company manufacturing the device and one of its most ardent proponents, frequently using it to re-experience her last visit with her late mother years earlier. She also happens to be the daughter of Jack (Colm Feore), the company’s head and the Oubli’s inventor.
On the eve of the product’s launch, Sophie is kidnapped by a mysterious stranger, Isa (Jeanette Samano, reprising the title character she played in a 2014 television movie to which this film is a loose sequel). Although she’s quickly set free, the encounter triggers some less than happy memories in Sophie, who soon realizes that neither her father nor his company is exactly what they pretend to be.
Seeking to uncover the truth with the aid of her taciturn driver/bodyguard Ayden (Gary Dourdan, formerly of CSI), she comes into contact with a number of shady characters, including the Oubli’s true inventor (Amanda Plummer, working in usual gothic mode) and the company’s head medical honcho (David Clennon).
Although co-writer/director Marquez creates a suitably tense atmosphere and effectively employs suitably modernistic Los Angeles locations, the film never lives up its potential. Devoid of narrative momentum, the overly oblique proceedings run out of dramatic steam early on, with the lackluster dialogue and listless performances contributing to the overall tedium. Reversion proves that a film, particularly one of the sci-fi variety, requires a competent execution in addition to a good idea to fully succeed.
Production: Serena Films, Dangerous Media
Cast: Aja Naomi King, Colm Feore, Gary Dourdan, Jeanette Samano, Amanda Plummer, David Clennon, Lela Rochon
Director: Jose Nestor Marquez
Screenwriters: Jose Nestor Marquez, Elissa Matsueda
Producers: Tatiana Kelly, Aaron Sherry
Executive producers: Valerie Stadler, Peter E. Blacker
Director of photography: Anne Etheridge
Production designer: Celine Diano
Editors: Ceci Hyoun, Victor Du Bois
Costume designer: Stefanie Lain
Composer: Michael Tuller
Not rated, 84 min.
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