Time Lapse is currently impressing audiences at this year’s Fantasia Film Festival and it’s easy to see why. It succeeds in presenting an original, engaging story, whilst also delivering a strong visual style. Moulding together aspects of time travel and thriller, the story premise is set up quickly. Three friends living together in an apartment block, find their neighbour dead and a strange machine pointing in to their living room. They quickly realise that the machine produces pictures 24 hours in the future, allowing them to see ahead of time. Swiftly they choose to exploit the machine for their own gain, sparking a chain of events that both traps them and threatens to destroy their lives.
From the outset there is a hint of Hitchcock in both the style and music of the film. Tense piercing music is used minimally but effectively, rising and falling at key moments, intensifying the action. Coupled with voyeuristic framing and a careful use of colours, in particular green and brown, a nod to the Master himself was definitely felt.
The combination of contemporary setting and great central performances immediately immerses you in the story world. The trio of roommates that find the machine are made up of artistic Finn, his girlfriend Callie and their shady, gambling roommate, Jasper. As they set about prospering from their future knowledge, both creatively and financially, the story becomes more layered and leads them down a path where the boundaries of control are skewed. Friendships start to break down and Finn and Callie’s relationship is threatened from within. With the introduction of Jasper’s bookie, the tension ramps up a notch, pitching the stakes higher and the situation even more desperate. The story weaves itself cleverly, twisting and playing with expectations. There is only one moment where it feels that a minor character appears merely to advance the plot, but it works and the story moves forward without losing any of its pace.
The pure enjoyment of the film comes down to watching these characters as they begin to pick themselves and each other apart. Things quickly start to disintegrate, nobody knows who to trust and paranoia sets is. This concept of friends thrown in to a situation which begins to destroy them from the inside out, is reminiscent of Shallow Grave. Although an entirely different film, Time Lapse shares some of the themes of Danny Boyle’s fantastic picture, where greed and selfishness take over characters’ lives entirely.
Director and Writer Bradley King, along with Co-Writer B.P Cooper, have crafted a tight story with great performances and style. Time Lapse is a clever and intriguing modern tale that packs a punch.
Time Lapse is now available to watch online
Time Lapse (2014)
Director: Bradley King
Cast: Danielle Panabaker, Matt O'Leary, George Finn