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Time Lapse (2014)

This is one of the more peculiar films I’ve seen in recent times. Thankfully, it was bought to me with the wonders of Sky Go, as every so often add these weird and wonderful films. Much like Lars Von Trier’s Dogville, Time Lapse is a film centred on human nature with regards to three people who discover a time travelling camera.

Allow me to explain. The three friends, Jasper (George Finn), Finn (Matt O’Leary) and Callie (Danielle Panabaker) live in an apartment across the way from an elderly neighbour. The neighbour – Mr. B – has been missing for the last week and Finn, being the maintenance manager, checks on the apartment to find a camera that has a photo of their front room across the way. Confused, they assume he’s a peeping tom, however, they soon realise that the photo is from the 24 hours into the future.

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They eventually find Mr. B’s body in the storage unit, and discuss the option of calling the cops, however, Jasper fuelled by his own greed, argues against it and wants to use it for his own personal gain. They all realise the advantages of doing this, including Finn (The level headed one of the three) can finally paint without being ‘blocked’, considering the photo shows what he paints.

That is pretty much all there is to the story, but the director Bradley King adapts this around each of the characters intentions. Their intentions are sub par, typical revolving around money and them wanting to pursue their dreams (Jasper’s literally being to make as much money as possible).

As they continue with their lives and not destroying the machine and posing for the photos, it begins to spiral out of control when Jasper’s bookie, Ivan, becomes inquisitive about Jasper’s recent run of good luck. This is when it spirals downward into the depths of a thriller as the trio try to back their way out of a corner Jasper walked them into.

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It isn’t the greatest edge-of-your-seatt thriller thats ever unfolded, but with a plot twist, mixed in with the paranoia-induced frenzy that Jasper spirals into, theres enough intensity to keep you watching. A side story does appear throughout the film, starting off at the photo of Jasper kissing Callie. As Finn paints, the kiss goes on for too long, in which Finn storms off angry and jealous. (This is a little bit of a spoiler) This is where Callie’s motive with the time travelling camera is finally shown, she uses it to get Finn to become jealous and ‘fight for them’ as she says. She uses the daytime photos (That were previously missing) to send messages to herself, to make sure Finn fights for them as a couple.

As I mentioned, this film isn’t too different from Dogville in the sense of human nature being the reigning factor in the film. Even as they talk themselves out of the sensible thing to do when finding the body all for their own personal gain.

Admittedly, it isn’t the perfect thriller film, majority of it can be guessed, but it’s a fresh piece of work to be seen in the thriller genre, considering the use of the time travelling camera as the central piece of the puzzle. Bradley King’s use of the small apartment complex, with most of the story taking place in the the two apartments, keeps the story structured and there isn’t much room for distraction with spectacle. One thing I did really enjoy in this film is, as the film rolls on and Jasper becomes increasingly paranoid, his face starts to show signs of this and of course his frantic behaviour.

Time_Lapse

The acting is fine, probably the height of it coming from Jasper as expected as he ups his paranoia and performance to give a convincing role. Callie and Finn are admittedly subpar along with the rest of the cast. I think the big triumph of this film is Jasper, along with the fresh approach to thrillers involving time travel, but the scripting to main theme being about the nature of humans when involved with different emotions (mainly greed and love though) is something that should be loved about this film too.

In by no means is it a immediate must-watch, but it’s a recommendation as the film is just over 100 minutes long and makes for an sort-of entertaining, if not interesting, watch.

6/10.


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The Two Faces of January (2014)

The Two Faces of January features two of my favourite actors, Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac, and strangely enough the trailer I saw, sold this film in a completely different light than the film worked out to be. This being director Hossein Amini’s debut, I rather enjoyed this, but this man is responsible for the screenplays of Drive and Snow White and the Huntsman – two films I have enjoyed in the past. Which admittedly are two different types of film, but if I was to liken this film to either two, it would have to be Drive, considering the thriller aspects in the film.

This film being an adaptation of Patricia Highman’s novel of the same name, unfortunately I would not be able to see the similarities, however that being said, the story involves the more exotic worlds of Greece and Turkey, in the year of 1962. Chester (Viggo Mortensen) and Colette McFarland (Kirsten Dunst) are touring the acropolis, whilst Rydal (Oscar Isaac) is acting as a tour guide to a bunch of a girls, whom he later scams. Curious, Colette tails the young Rydal to find out more information about him, which leads to Rydal taking them around the flea market the following morning. He scams the McFarland’s there with his bogus exchange rates (similar to what he does to the girls earlier), to which a Greek congratulates him on his efforts.

Chester and Colette

From this moment on the thriller aspect of the film creeps in. During the evening, a private detective locates Chester McFarland and threatens him to pay back the money he owes to people he swindled, otherwise there will be consequences. After a brief scuffle, the private detective is killed and whilst trying to hide the body. Chester is discovered by Rydal who was returning a bracelet to Colette.

Instead of running (Because who wouldn’t be suspicious of a man you’ve just met dragging a lifeless body into a room), Rydal helps. And to make things more suspicious, they leave the hotel room immediately and Chester asks if Rydal knows anyone that can get them passports.

Rydal

This pretty much happens within the first twenty to thirty minutes. After this is where the film gets interesting due to the effort that Chester, Colette and Rydal go through to keep a low profile. It becomes a tale about paranoia very quickly as Chester watches Rydal and Colette grow closer and Chester as a result, ruffles Colette’s feathers often. But also the deep fear that festers in Colette who assumes everyone looking at her knows she’s on the run.

In all fairness, this is quite a difficult one to write about without giving away the crucial plot points, but I’ll let you know this. It’s more of a crime thriller, with the main themes centred around crime. For example, Chester’s main source of money is conning other people (which causes the private detective to appear) and that is the same for Rydal, as I previously mentioned.

With that being said, there usually isn’t much room for a spectacle side of the film in crime thriller’s, however, Hossein Amini filters in picturesque shots of Greece including the famed Acropolis, but uses the narrow streets of Chania to add to the suspense when Chester in a paranoid-induced frenzy tries to find Rydal and Colette. With a light tint throughout the film, it gives it that rustic time-period feel (but this is also helped with the extensive work in the clothing department).

Chester, the face of paranoia.

Chester, the face of paranoia.

Amina’s debut makes for an entertaining watch, considering the storyline not being the most riveting in this genre. My fixation on this film is with the characters, the most compelling being Rydal and Chester. They continually battle for the trophy that seems to be Colette, with their alpha-male dominance. The thriller sequences are shot brilliantly, with Amini’s great use of the narrow streets as I mentioned before. The film stands at a mere 96 minutes, but it feels longer, due to the nature of the characters and the long pauses between the story (Such as travelling to the ruins in Knossos sequence). All in all, between the characters, the picturesque shots of Greece and Turkey, Amini’s debut is a delight and a very enjoyable crime thriller, without being anything special within the genre.

7/10.