Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Time Lapse Movie Review

Time Lapse (2014)
Rent Time Lapse on Amazon Video
Watch Time Lapse on Netflix
Written by: Bradley King, Bp Cooper
Directed by: Bradley King
Starring: Danielle Panabaker, Matt O'Leary, George Finn
Rated: --/R

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!

Three friends find a device that captures images twenty-four hours into the future and attempt to use it for personal gain.

There are only so many variations that can be done on the theme of time travel, but if it's about time travel I will watch it. While this doesn't break new ground, it changes the formula just enough to make it kind of interesting. The characters get information from the future from a photograph and then must recreate the picture to maintain the loop.
The end devolves into typical selfishness and greed. A solid conclusion could have helped, but instead this got kind of boring due to uninspiring characters.
It depends.

What hurts this the most is the writing. The characters dialog is lackluster and their motivations are standard cliches. Couple Callie (Danielle Panabaker) and Finn (Matt O'Leary) live with a roommate Jasper (George Finn). They're young, broke twenty somethings living in a dump, and Finn works as the maintenance guy for the complex.

One of the first scenes highlights the lacking dialog. Callie buys Finn paint brushes instead of a journal. It's just a hokey scenario that is trying to invoke an O. Henry story. There are so many ways to convey their lack of money, and that is not the way to do it.

The time travel concept involves sending information to the the past. I'll allow the movie the strange steel door storage bunker under the complex and this giant camera that a neighbor just happened to build and point into Finn and Callie's living room.
They see into the future and feel obligated to ensure whatever event depicted in the picture happens. Jasper is afraid breaking the loop will have disastrous effects.
Stepping outside of the movie, could they have chosen not to recreate the picture? Yes and no. The fact the picture exists means they will recreate it. Time is a closed loop, so there is no changing it. It's like so many stories where you travel to the past to change the future and only ensure the future occurs exactly as it already has.
Choosing not to recreate the picture wouldn't end the world, but since time is a closed loop whatever the image conveys is what they'll do. While you could get into free will, a time line exists from start to finish. We just observe a narrow portion of it. Imagine it's like the film in a video cassette. Characters may think they have free will, but the events have already concluded, it's just dependent on what point you reference.

Time is a closed loop. While some would want to argue about the first time or before the camera, there is no before. What happens, happens.
Some may bring up causation, but this is a simple situation of a group sending information into the past. Instead of focusing on what they send to the past, we focus on what they receive from the future. Instead of just information, they send a photograph which has to be re-created. This is consistent and avoids paradoxes because the photos have an origin and presumptive end.
This is definitely a small budget indie film with a small story, and that's fine, but it's not unique enough to stand out. This magic camera and resulting scenario feels like something I've seen before. We're introduced to a few side characters, but they just feel like hokey distractions. We need characters that come alive, and these don't. They become slaves to the photographs and when Finn wants to break the machine, the others forcefully disagree. It's a scenario that's easy to predict, and the characters aren't interesting enough to offset that.

It introduces what could have been interesting concepts, how the machine relieves Finn of painter's block, but Jasper's ploy for wealth needed more polish. It's such a cliche trope that it needed a unique spin. Callie's arc is revealed later in the film, but the movie didn't do enough with it. It could have been an interesting parallel to the main plot.
The concept is solid, but the characters ultimately fall flat.

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