Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Fantasia ’14: Time Lapse
is too bad the late, great James Garner never got to take this Polaroid camera
out for a spin. It has been specially modified. The big bulky mainframe spits
out a picture of whatever is in its field of vision, twenty-four hours into the
future. Unfortunately, its inventor no longer has a future, which allows his
underachieving neighbors to put it to dubious employment in Bradley King’s Time Lapse (trailer here), which screens
during the 2014 Fantasia International Film Festival.
fancies himself a painter, but he is really the super of a suburban condo
complex. He is the guy who has to check up on the eccentric Mr. Bezzeredes when
the retiree’s papers start piling up. His girlfriend Callie is a writer who
works as a waitress and their housemate Jasper is basically a degenerate
turns out the former scientist was compulsively snapping photos through their
front window before he met with death through some mysterious form of
misadventure. From Bezzeredes’ journal and the evidence of the photos, the trio
quickly deduces the nature of his breakthrough and concludes he was burned
(literally) because he tried to pull a fast one on time. Therefore they resolve
they must always conform to whatever future comes spitting out of the machine.
Of course, it always seems to provide Jasper the daily winners at the
racetrack. It also shows Finn the paintings he had been struggling to produce.
do not need a crystal ball to predict Jasper’s bookie will get suspicious when
he keeps picking race after race. However, that is just the start of the
complications for the trio. For one thing, they essentially lose all free will
once they commit to conforming to the nightly 8:00 photo. It becomes a
compelling dramatic constraint King and co-writer B.P. Cooper wriggle in and
out of quite cleverly.
fact, Time Lapse represents a
continuation of the renaissance for low budget, high concept indie science
fiction, successfully following the example of James Ward Byrkit’s Coherence, Hugh Sullivan’s Infinite Man (a fellow Fantasia
selection), and Darren Paul Fisher’s Frequencies.
Like those films, Time Lapse is not
about special effects. Instead, they start with a fantastical Macguffin and
trace its effects on realistic, everyday people. Arguably, Time Lapse is the most character-driven of the lot, presenting the dark
side of a Three’s Company-like
Panabaker is terrific as Callie, pulling off some nifty pivots that really make
the film. George Finn also relishes Jasper’s increasingly erratic behavior,
chewing scenery like a genre pro. Matt O’Leary sort of draws the short straw as
the painfully reserved Finn (the painter character), but he holds up his end,
keeping the action moving forward.
One of the cool things about Time Lapse is it is the sort of science
fiction film you could adapt as a stage production without it suffering from a
lack of SFX mumbo jumbo. Tightly executed by King, it is a worthy addition to
the growing time travel canon. Recommended with a good deal of enthusiasm, Time Lapse screens again tomorrow (8/2)
as part of this year’s Fantasia.
Labels: Fantasia '14, Time Travel Films