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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 05.13.15] scifi thriller

Like any good movie, the best time travel stories aren't the ones that only deal with the mechanics of time travel but those that include some sort of personal drama. Even more so than most, Time Lapse overlooks the science part of time travel by essentially chalking it up to "don't mess with a good thing" and focuses almost exclusively on the unfolding drama.

Finn is an aspiring painter suffering from artist block who pays the bills by working as the building superintendent. He shares his apartment with his girlfriend Callie and their friend Jasper whose only means of making money is gambling. Finn gets a call from the building owner asking him to check in on Mr. Bezzerides, the old man who lives in the unit across from theirs. When the trio head over to check on the former scientist, they discover a wall of photographs and a large machine pointing directly at their living room window. Turns out they've found a machine that takes photos of the future and like any normal human being, they want to exploit it.

Or at least Jasper does. He sees this as his opportunity to win big at the races. Finn is thrilled to see his painter's block seems to have disappeared and Callie seems to be happy that both of her friends are happy. It's all a happy existence; until it's not.

Time Lapse is a little different than most other time travel movies in that there is actually no time travel involved. The movie plays with time and the possibility of being able to see a glimpse of the future but our central characters never go anywhere. They're dealing with the outcomes of what their future selves are doing/have done. In part, Time Lapse is a movie about trust and what we're willing to do to save the relationships we care about but on a much more meta level, it's also a movie about the constrains of knowing the future and the dangers of only knowing one small part of it.

One of the most interesting aspects of the story is the idea that in order to keep the timeline in check, the trio needs to re-create the photos exactly. Rather than being free because they know what's to come, writer/director Bradley King and co-writer Bp Cooper have created a movie where knowing the future tremendously limits the choices and actions of the characters which really makes a case for not wanting to know what the future holds. Cooper and King also deserve accolades for their ability to craft a movie that doesn't only avoid red herrings but manages to nicely tie up all the story angles without the entire thing feeling contrived.

Grounded by great performances and a well constructed story, Time Lapse provides an interesting and original take on the time travel trope not to mention a story that is ripe for repeat viewings.

Time Lapse opens in theatres and is available on VOD on May 15.

Recommended Release: Coherence

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Lenny (7 years ago) Reply

Finally just saw this on VOD. Was a little slow but overall entertaining and just when I thought it was over and giving it a ho hum review in my mind it turned on a dime and closed everything up nicely. Made me like it a whole lot more! Need to rewatch actually. Not as great as Coherence or Predestinaion but good all the same.

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