Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Philip K. Dick ’16: Counter Clockwise
is a long and reasonably successful tradition of self-experimentation in
medical research, but not so much when it comes to the development of
teleportation. Have you seen Jeff Goldblum in The Fly? Apparently, Ethan Walker has not. Despite knowing his
prospective system is still a little buggie, Walker jumps on a node anyway and
beams himself into a future where he is wanted for the murder of his wife and
sister. Things will get even more complicated when Walker returns to the past
he skipped over in George Moïse’s Counter
screens during the 2016 Philip K. Dick Film Festival in New York.
Walker and his decidedly not schlubby partner Ceil left Rakubian Industries to
invent their teleportation device. Unfortunately, their guinea pig, a rather
trusting one-eyed dog does not re-materialize as they hoped. This is obviously
very depressing, especially for Charlie the pooch. However, when Fido finally
reappears, the relieved Walker decides to take it for test drive himself.
Right, that is just a really tough decision to buy.
jumping into the future, Walker figures out a few fused circuits turned the
teleporter into a time machine. Recovering from the initial shock of seeing him
again, Ceil explains to Walker how badly he has been framed. Being a fugitive
in the present that used to be the future, Walker goes back to when everything
went south. Of course, he will have to avoid himself and all his subsequent
selves that might be sharing the time-frame.
Counter has a grungy,
seriously DIY vibe that actually serves it quite well. Moïse also choreographs
the resulting near-misses and crossed paths rather nicely. However, the stakes
have been raised dramatically for time travel films. Compared to the complex
traffic direction of Hugh Sullivan’s The Infinite Man and Jacob Gentry’s forthcoming Synchronicity, Counter is clearly much smaller in scope and
considerably less ambitious conceptually. There is also some really disgusting
business in the climax nobody will want to see.
Michael Kopelow is pretty solid as the Job-like Walker, but many of the
supporting players simply are not professional grade. Unlike Nacho Vigalondo’s Timecrimes or Bradley King’s Time Lapse, the Moïses and Kopelow never
seem particularly keen to explore the paradoxes of time travel. Instead, they
are more interested in the conventional subplots involving Rakubian Industries.
Clockwise is not a bad film (aside
from that really problematic bit), but it just can’t compete with its recent
time-traveling cousins. For dedicated subgenre fans, it screens this Sunday
(1/17) at the Cinema Village, during this year’s Philip K. Dick Film Festival.
Labels: Philip K. Dick '16, Time Travel Films