A Sci-Fi Honey New Release Review by Katie

Time Lapse (2015)

If you could catch a glimpse of your tomorrow, would you try to use this information to your advantage, or be fearful of its implications? If given the choice, would you even want to see it at all? Writer/director Bradley King’s feature film debut Time Lapse presents this opportunity to a trio of characters, each of whom struggle with how to utilize the gift (or curse?) of foreknowledge. Within the conceit of the above-mentioned questions, the film’s premise can go in as many directions as the characters involved are willing to take it. King explores these different avenues by employing turn after dramatic turn, resulting in an increasingly bleak but always engaging indie sci-fi thriller.

The film opens in a shabby apartment complex where our main characters are living in a modern-day Three’s Company scenario: Finn (Matt O’Leary) is a starving artist who doubles as the complex’s manager to pay the bills; Callie (Danielle Panabaker) is the live-in girlfriend that he’s unable to commit to; and their third wheel is Jasper (George Finn), a roommate who spends his days slacking and wisecracking on the sofa. While checking on the apartment of a missing neighbor, the trio discovers a camera pointed directly at their living room window – and not in the pervy way you’d expect. They soon learn the camera produces a photograph of the events occurring in their living room the following day, every day, at exactly 8pm. Whether they’re lounging around watching tv or engaging in something that appears more sinister, the photos are only one piece of a larger puzzle about what the future holds for them all.

In tomorrow’s photo of me, I’d be in the exact same spot on the couch still binge-watching Netflix.
As we’ve come to expect in films about new and potentially dangerous technology, at least one character wants to exploit the camera for personal gain. All three characters are stuck in ruts of a creative (Finn), personal (Callie), or financial (Jasper) nature, and all three could benefit from taking a sneak peak at what tomorrow has in store. Jasper takes the obvious route and wants to get tomorrow’s racing scores in a photo so he can cash in from his winning bets. Suffering from artist’s block, Finn wants to see a brilliant painting on his living room canvas. Callie examines each day’s future photograph for clues about improving her relationship with Finn. As the film wears on, however, these desires give way to more alarming ulterior motives, resulting in an increasingly portentous preview of their forthcoming selves. It’s not long before dangerous rifts form within their group that could destroy their lives as well as the secret they’re trying to protect.

Next time, just leave the fortune-telling machine alone. 
The most intriguing aspect of Time Lapse is the way the film examines the paradox of free will. If someone tells you with absolute certainty that you’ll eat a taco tomorrow, will it become a self-fulfilling prophecy… or will you decide to challenge fate and have pizza instead? Afraid that deviating from their preordained path will result in their untimely deaths, the film’s three lead characters are compelled to recreate exactly what they see in tomorrow’s photo every night at 8pm. But if they never saw the photo, would the moment that was captured still occur? Or are they perpetuating the cycle by conforming to the photo’s vision of the future? Such brain-teasing questions could have you puzzling over the movie forever, as well as the loftier conundrums at its core. 

“We are completely fine. Cheeeeeseeee!”
Together with Coherence and Predestination, Time Lapse is the latest example of thought-provoking sci-fi that doesn’t pander to its audience: perceptive viewers that have more sophistication than some filmmakers or studios give them credit for. King packs the film with more twists than your average “whodunit,” but never in a way that feels too contrived to be believed. Even if you fail to apply logic to the film’s more outlandish time-travel absurdities, Time Lapse is buoyed by strong performances and King’s keen eye behind the camera – an extraordinary feat for his first feature-length outing, and an exciting possibility for what the future has in store.

Sci-Fi Honey Rating: Just take a look at tomorrow’s photograph to find out my rating… it’ll be four out of five.

Time Lapse is available via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube VOD, Google Play,
and will be released on blu-ray June 16, 2015

Are you planning to watch Time Lapse?
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