Three friends discover a mysterious machine that takes pictures 24hrs into the future and conspire to use it for personal gain, until disturbing and dangerous images begin to develop.
The problem with time-travel movies, is that whatever events and storylines filmmakers can create, we have nothing to compare them to in real life. Who wouldn’t want a time machine? To be able to go back in time, rectify any mistakes or bad decisions we may have made so that everything would be okay? But by going back and amending these situations, wouldn’t that mean that other aspects in our lives may possibly be changed, therefore, causing a conceivable paradox which could make everything worse off than it was before? Granted, that’s only speculation because as far as I know, nobody has actually built a time machine so all of this conjecture and hypothesis that we hear so much about in movies, could be absolute bullshit. But it’s still fun to imagine “what if?”
In “Time Lapse,” we are introduced to Callie (Danielle Panabaker) and her boyfriend Finn (Matt O’Leary), they are the managers of a quiet apartment complex along with their friend Jasper (George Finn) who lives with them. When Callie notices one of her tenants has not been around for some time and that his newspapers are beginning to pile up outside his door, she investigates and to her bewilderment, she finds an enormous machine, which looks like a large camera, sitting in the apartment pointing right across at their residence. After informing the two guys, they investigate some more and discover an entire wall covered with photographs of the three friends going about their daily business.
As they look at the photos, nothing is out of the ordinary but upon closer inspection, one in particular, shows the coat hanger in their apartment knocked over. They all try to remember when that happened and nervously laugh it off but the next day at precisely 8pm, Callie accidentally knocks it over while putting on her jacket and when they take out the photo to compare it, it is in the exact same position. Gradually, they come to understand that the camera takes a photo exactly 24 hours into the future and when they realize the possibilities, they take full advantage of their newfound situation, retrieving the photo every evening with bookie bets and lottery numbers from their ‘future’ selves that begins to make them a lot of money and for a while, everything is great.
But all good things must come to an end, especially when you are cheating father time. They all begin to comprehend that in order for them to continue living the way they are, making money to no end, they can never leave their apartment and as each of their lives is slowly turned upside down, lead by greed, jealousy and desire, one by one, they begin to turn on each other and when one talks of destroying the machine so that they can go back to their normal lives, the trio inadvertently seal their individual fates in a finale of epic proportions. What I really liked about this movie is that it is never fully explained how the time machine was built and the intricacies and complexities that would obviously accompany such a feat, it is simply there for the purpose of the movie.
The other aspect is that the entire movie takes place in pretty much one location, their own apartment and occasionally their missing neighbor’s apartment which houses the time machine. Each of the characters are instantly likable and empathetic so when things unfailingly go south, we can still relate to them, until they are so far gone, they become shells of their former selves. Setting an entire feature film more or less in one location can become boring, fast but thanks to director Bradley King, he keeps the tension and suspense flowing at a steady pace so that the story never feels rushed. At times, when a character picks up a photograph that shows an unknown future, we don’t always cut to the photo, instead, we linger on the character’s face and their reaction sets the tone for things which have yet to transpire.
With time travel movies, you can literally think yourself to death. How did this happen when that should have happened or why did they turn left when human nature dictates they should have turned right? At the end of the day, it’s not rocket science, it’s a movie that was created to make you think and as I write this review, I am still remembering particular elements of the movie. Everything in this film is spot on, the acting, the directing, the tension and the surprise twists that manifest themselves in every crevice of the story, waiting to jump out and take you by surprise. It just goes to show that you don’t need a $200 million dollar budget and A-list celebrities to make a decent film, all you need is a good script, a commendable cast and an exceptional director and you’re on your way. Highly Recommended.
In theaters and VOD May 15th
For more info about James visit his website at www.IrishFilmCritic.com