I have to say, as much as I love the Viennale and its glimpse into the more artistic side of cinema, but… after 12 days of “artsy” movies “Time Lapse” definitely was a nice and highly welcome change of pace. While very much an Indie-movie, it felt much more mainstream than the vast majority of films that I saw at the Viennale last year. It’s a neat little time travel thriller; not too complicated, but not too dumbed down either, and one that sticks to its rules – which is always a plus.
One of its biggest strengths is the concept. There already are a lot of time travel-thrillers out there, but “Time Lapse” feels fresh and original, because here, it’s not the people who travel through time, but instead you got this weird mix of time travel-device and camera that allows you to catch a glimpse of the future. It’s a neat concept that “Time Lapse” uses to great effect, since I was just as excited and anxious to see the next picture than the protagonists were. I also liked the questions that “Time Lapse” raised: Is it possible to change the future, or is everything predetermined? What I found also quite interesting was that for a while, the photos work like a self-fulfilling prophecy, with Callie, Finn and Jasper actually recreating the pictures since they’re afraid of what will happen if they change the future. The movie also offers some clever twists and turns, as well as a nice, dark ending that I thoroughly enjoyed. Bradley King’s direction is solid, and the movie moves at a brisk pace, thus keeping you entertained from start to finish. The cast was nice too. I always enjoy seeing Danielle Panabaker, but Matt O’Leary and George Finn were also great in their respective roles.
Unfortunately, said roles were a little clichéd. Finn is the calm, sweet guy that will have to man up during the movie, Jasper is the wrecked, frantic asshole, and Callie is… well, that would be telling. I was also a little irritated by John Rhys-Davies “blink and you’ll miss it” mini-cameo. The biggest flaw of the movie, however, is how dumb the protagonists go about making some money by using the machine. I mean, why the hell are they only telling themselves the results for horse races – which they then, to add insult to injury, always place through the same bookie? I mean, come on, of course he’s going to get suspicious. Why not simply post the winning numbers of the next lottery? That would also be a lot more lucrative. Anyway, that just felt a little too stupid and/or convoluted to me. Other than that, “Time Lapse” is a nifty little Science Fiction-Thriller with some nice tension, a neat and fresh premise, and its fair share of twists and WTF-moments.