is 1997. The internet bubble has yet to
burst and dial-up is still commonplace.
Easton Denning is an internet expert who has seen the future. Unfortunately, he is not a part of it. Time will bend as the computer wonk
challenges fate head on in Tim Connery’s high concept, low-gloss science
fiction drama Easton’s Article (trailer here), which screens at
the 2012 Fantasia Festival.
high school, Easton left Iowa and never looked back, until now. He had his reasons, which will be revealed as
he deals with his current crisis. One
night, his internet spiders retrieved a massive data dump. Most of it was just corrupted files and the
like, but there was one document that spooked Denning: his future obituary.
with his death notice, the scanned file includes hand written notes instructing
him to be at certain places at certain times.
He will know why when he gets there.
Obediently, Denning returns home, duly encountering the father and girlfriend
of his close high school friend, who died under murky circumstances their
senior year. Somehow, karma appears to
be using the internet to do its thing.
the time travel elements in Article are
basically hocus pocus, likening a digital information deluge to a flood of
water, effectively spilling over into the past.
However, the characterizations and the overriding vibe of tragically
unfinished business are strong enough to overwhelm logical pedantry. Perhaps the closest comparison film would be
John Weiner & Danny Kuchuck’s clever Cryptic,
which deserved more attention when it played the festival circuit.
Article represents the road not taken
often enough in the science fiction genre, telling an intimate yet speculative
story, with little or no special effects required. Connery’s completely linear script fits together
the pieces without any distracting seams, while fully immersing viewers in his
characters’ lives and Midwestern environment.
like everyday regular people, the small ensemble is smart and engaging
throughout Article. Given the anti-social protagonist’s myriad
flaws, Chad Meyer has a somewhat tough road to hoe, but he portrays Easton as a
haunted, fully dimensional human figure.
Likewise, Kristina Johnson brings substance and sensitivity to Hayley
Reed, Easton’s potential love interest.
A more sharply drawn role than typically expected in low budget genre
fare, Reed is a refreshingly active participant here and not simply stuck on
the sidelines wringing her hands.
Article might just be the
definitive Iowan science fiction film. Moody
and thoughtful, it is definitely for the high end of science fiction fandom’s
bell curve, but by the same token it is also quite accessible to non-genre
audiences. Recommended accordingly, Easton’s Article screens this coming Wednesday
(8/1) at this year’s Fantasia Festival up north.
Labels: Fantasia '12, Sci-Fi films, Time Travel Films