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article imageReview: ‘Time Lapse’ doesn’t go back on its promise Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Oct 20, 2014 in Entertainment
‘Time Lapse’ is a respectable addition to the sci-fi genre in which the lives of three friends are transformed when they discover a machine that tells the future.
Using some form of time travel as a get-rich-quick scheme is not an uncommon theme in this sci-fi subgenre. It also generally does not end well for those profiting. The types of devices used to achieve the impossible feat vary and some are more narratively interesting than others. In Time Lapse, the goose laying their golden eggs is an enormous camera.
Jasper (George Finn), Finn (Matt O'Leary) and his girlfriend Callie (Danielle Panabaker) are barely getting by. Jasper is a bartender and avid gambler. Finn is an artist supplementing his income by serving as building manager for their complex, while Callie similarly works to support her writing aspirations. When checking on a nearby neighbor, they discover a wall of Polaroids of their living room. Even stranger is the latest photo, which appears to have captured a moment that has yet to happen. Harnessing the power of the machine, they begin to make guaranteed race bets. But you can only beat the odds so many times before they turn against you.
This is a bit of an uncommon time travel narrative as the characters are restricted to pursuing the events depicted in the photographs rather than attempt to alter it in any way. They are motivated by the idea that deviating from the already determined path could have fatal consequences. Each image captures a moment 24 hours in the future, essentially relaying a message back in time. Analysis of the situation becomes complicated once you begin to question whether their actions are naturally occurring, or if they’re now acting purely in reaction to the photo produced — and if there’s a difference.
The flipside of this sci-fi story is a horror tale of greed and consequences. While Finn is the voice of reason and caution, Jasper immediately sees dollar signs and Callie is easily swayed by a more leisurely lifestyle. Each consumed by personal gains, their behaviour grows more erratic as they become increasingly reliant on the pseudo crystal ball. When word spreads about their incredible streak of luck and the mounting deception regarding the machine’s inventor, they draw significant unwanted attention.
The final act is a flurry of impulses meant to protect their possession of the future telling instrument, but shows they are all unraveling. The final revelation is evident in hindsight, but a well-kept secret until it’s brought to light. For his debut feature, writer/director Bradley King constructs an intricate tale that views human nature through a science fiction lens. It’s not unconventional or particularly ground-breaking, but it is a solid piece of storytelling.
Time Lapse is part of a science fiction double feature at the 2014 Toronto After Dark Film Festival.
Director: Bradley King
Starring: Danielle Panabaker, Matt O'Leary and George Finn
More about Review, Time lapse, Toronto After Dark, George Finn, Matt O'Leary
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