Total Recall (1990)

Directed by Paul Verhoeven

Construction worker Douglas Quaid's obsession with the planet Mars leads him to visit Recall, a company who manufacture memories. Something goes wrong during his memory implant turning Doug's life upside down and even to question what is reality and what isn't.

The movie was filmed in Mexico City, where costs were cheap, and where brutalist skyscrapers could conjure "Earth’s interplanetary imperialism", in the cultural studies scholar Simon During’s compelling reading of the film. Technically an "independent" production (insofar as the studio, Carolco Pictures, Inc., was not one the majors), Total Recall demanded a dizzying array of international capital, and its distribution required "cross-collateralization, in which market performance … in one territory can be discounted against its performance in another." The movie, meanwhile, itself cannily thematized postmodern means of production and consumption — whether the commodity being produced and consumed was "turbinium" (the fictional mineral extracted from Mars) or an action movie itself.

George Blaustein (European Review of Books)