'Reversion' a clever cautionary tale about virtual reality

A sci-fi thriller recalling "Open Your Eyes" (or "Vanilla Sky," for that matter), "Reversion" boasts the perils of virtual reality as its central conceit.

A pharmaceutical ad — minus the obligatory legalese about serious and life-threatening side effects — announces a new medical breakthrough called Oubli, which is like a wearable, app-powered Zoloft. It helps people to recall a happy moment, but at the risk of losing traumatic ones (no real surprise here, given that oublier is French for "forget").

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There will be no eternal sunshine for Sophie's spotless mind, though. As the daughter of Oubli's inventor, Sophie (Aja Naomi King of "How to Get Away With Murder") serves as the device's marketer and resident lab rat. On the eve of Oubli's much-publicized launch, Sophie learns that she has a mysterious implant and that her father's research and development methods might not have been entirely kosher. (As dad and Oubli inventor, Colm Feore does the slithering evil genius so deftly, it's a shame he didn't land the lead in "Steve Jobs.")

Because of the faulty memory of its unreliable protagonist, "Reversion" prompts viewers to second-guess its narrative. Director and co-writer Jose Nestor Marquez eschews most establishing shots, exacerbating the sense of disorientation and mystery.

"Reversion" ultimately concludes in the most logical way imaginable, and it's to Marquez's credit that you won't see that coming.

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"Reversion"

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes.

Playing: AMC Universal CityWalk 19.

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