Total Recall (1990) – Encore Review


“Sorry, Quaid. Your whole life is just a dream.” – Lori

Number of Times Seen – At least 10 times (Three times in the theater in 1990, cable, video, DVD, 27 Apr 2015 and 2 Jul 2019)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – A construction worker is intrigued by the idea of Mars and decides to take a virtual trip there which causes many more problems than he ever expected.

My Take on it – This is a film that I recall seeing a few times in the theater and loved ever minute of it because they are able to make things work so well throughout.

The story that is presented here is superbly done and is enhanced by the spectacular special effects that help transport us in time to a place where the technology they present us with feels extremely realistic and plausible as it moves along very smoothly and fluidly from point to point.

The Academy actually gave the effects team a non-competitive Oscar because they must have been blown away by the work done here and knew that no other film that year could even come close to topping it.  (For an example, just watch the receptionist at Recall as she does her nails).

Arnold Schwarzenegger was at his peak when this was made and he was an amazing choice for the lead here and this remains among the very best performances of his career.

The story and story line is set up in a way that it allows so many things to remain ambiguous throughout and even leaves enough doubt in our minds by the end as to what is real and what is imagination.

The pattern of the story moves along at a rapid pace yet still holds on to a pattern that makes sense and allows the viewer to get a clear idea of what is at stake throughout.

In addition to Arnie, the supporting cast also help keep the level of suspense and thrills quite high from start to finish.

Ronny Cox, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside and Rachel Ticotin are all great in their roles here.

This film manages to leave the viewer with enough things to ponder both about life and about the way that we each deal with things on a day to day basis.

Great action scenes are resonate throughout.

Bottom Line – Amazing story that is enhanced by the spectacular special effects which makes it all seem so fluid and real. Schwarzenegger is great in this role and this is among his best work as an actor. The story line does a wonderful job keeping so much of the premise ambiguous which allows the viewer to constantly try and guess what it real and what is imagination. Even by the end, there is a bit of doubt about this fact. The story flows in a great pattern and moves at a rapid pace which allows us to get a clear idea of what is at stake throughout.  The supporting cast is also great with Stone, Ticotin, Cox and Ironside helping to keep the high level of suspense and thrills constantly within reach. Leaves the viewer with so much to ponder about life and the way that we deal with things on a day to day basis. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – After seeing Sharon Stone’s performance as Lori in this movie, director Paul Verhoeven would cast her in the movie Basic Instinct (1992) due to her ability play a character that could change from a timid charming sweetheart to a diabolical person and back again at a moment’s notice. He also stated that this is the way Sharon Stone is in real life. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10) (no change from original review)

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2 thoughts on “Total Recall (1990) – Encore Review

  1. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1990 | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: The Lamb’s March 2020 MOTM – My Rankings | MovieRob

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