Director/Stars: Shane Carruth (Director)
Genre: Time Travel
Watched: May 7, 2012
Summary: Brilliant and confusing
This is very much a thinking man’s thriller. It’s a slightly Momento-esque time travel film supposedly filmed for a mere $7,000! I’m skeptical that it was actually that cheap, but it certainly was cheap. Even so, it rarely suffers for it.
The film is very short at 77 minutes and the first half elapses before we see any actual time travel. We follow a group of engineers speaking a nearly incomprehensible technobabble. Even as an ultimate techie (M.I.T. grad degree in EECS) I could not follow most of it — the writers did not intend us to — but it’s actually fairly reasonable. I had more problem with all the engineers wearing shirt and tie even during leisure hours. In any case, they accidentally invent a peculiar kind of time machine. It allows very limited (and fairly awkward) backward travel.
The second half is a dizzying series of overlapping events as the two main protagonists loop and reloop across a few sleepless days. Understanding the exact sequence would undoubtedly require numerous viewings. The creator spares little effort to make such complex matters easily digestible.
As someone who has recently (last year) created his own time travel scheme, for my novel Untimed, I appreciate this complete, well thought out, and fully coherent scheme. This is old school hard sci-fi of sorts, and it’s refreshing in this era of marketing driven watered down drivel to have to puzzle something out.