If you have made a time machine, inherited one, or even just come across one by accident…destroy it, this is advice that could save your life. I’ve seen countless movies involving time travel of some kind or another and nine times out of ten it ends badly. Even Back to the Future ends horrifically, if you think about it too hard, but in writer/director Bradley King’s Time Lapse we get a temporal thriller that adds a heaping helping of paranoia into the mix.
Finn (Matt O’Leary) and his girlfriend Callie (Danielle Panabaker) share a place with their best friend Jasper (George Finn), and though Finn is a struggling artist currently fighting an artistic mental block while his long-suffering girlfriend works a dead-end job, and Jasper blows his money on drugs and the dog races, they seem to be living an okay life. Finn makes his money as the apartment complex’s building manager and one day the landlord calls and asks that they check in on a neighbour who hasn’t paid his rent in some time. That newspapers are piling up outside his door is not a good sign, so Callie offers to go and see if he’s all right. She discovers something rather disturbing.
Apparently, the missing Mr. Bezzerides (John Rhys-Davies) has been taking hundreds of pictures of their place with some enormous camera. But their neighbour, being some kind of Peeping Tom isn’t the weird part; it’s when they find out that the camera he uses seemingly takes Polaroid pictures of events 24 hours in the future that things begin to get a bit crazy.
Callie finds Mr. Bezzerides’s journal which reveals that something he saw in one of the “future pictures” led him to believe he was going to die. He had decided to break the cardinal rule of time and causality by changing the future in the hopes of preventing his own death. At first, our little band doesn’t believe this time camera is for real, but when evidence too hard to ignore builds up they quickly come to grips with the possibility. Things get scarier when they discover the dead body of Mr. Bezzerides in his storage locker, its flesh is burnt and desiccated but the suit he is wearing looks fine. Based on this and the notes in the journal, and the bizarre appearance of the corpse, they come to the conclusion that they have to make sure the events in the “future pics” come to pass or they themselves could end up like Bezzerides.
Good-hearted Finn wants to notify the police of the dead Mr. Bezzerides while Jasper immediately sees the money potential in such a device. Jasper says there is no need to call the cops because if they had they’d already be looking at a photo of the police investigating the death. So obviously they don’t call the police. So with that bit of logic, they decide to cover up his death and Jasper uses the camera to win money from betting on the races. Even Finn uses glimpses of his future paintings to inspire him because copying a picture you did in the future is not cheating. Right?
Sadly that may not be the only cheating going on here, and this is when the movie starts to really get interesting. One of the photos pops out showing Jasper and Callie kissing while Finn paints off to the side, seemingly oblivious. This evidence of his best friend making out with his girlfriend obviously upsets Finn but going by their theory that those events MUST take place, or end up as dead as Mr. Bezzerides, they have to follow through with it.
So to keep themselves from being killed by “The Forces of Time” they go ahead and stage the kissing event for the camera, but this leads to an interesting question, what were the original events that led up to that kiss? How drunk would you have to be to cheat on your boyfriend when he’s only bloody five feet away? Or has that picture always been of them kissing because they found the picture of them kissing, and were forced to re-enact it?
At this point events begin to spiral out of control as paranoia and danger seep into the cracks of their relationships, threatening to destroy everything and everyone. Toss in an evil bookie (Jason Spisak), who is very interested in how Jasper keeps winning, and you have a recipe for disaster.
It seems that 2014 was quite the year for time travel movies; there was Michael Spierig’s fantastic sci-fi thriller Predestination, but then we also got the incredibly stupid Project Almanac, so the release of Time Lapse makes it two excellent films to one terrible one, which I guess isn’t too bad.
I simply loved this film; the characters and ideas put forth by Bradley King are not only clever and well thought out but take into consideration the most dangerous element of time travel…the people themselves. If absolute power corrupts absolutely can you think of a greater power than the ability to shape your future via temporal alterations? Rent it, buy it, view it and then go back in time and view it again. You won’t regret it.
Note: John Rhys-Davies had two scenes in this film but they, unfortunately, hit the cutting room floor, so alas he is but a corpse in the final cut.
Time Lapse (2015)
Time Lapse is a movie that really makes you think; it dabbles with not just the concept of time and paradoxes but with the effect such things can have on the people who try and alter their lives.