Monday, 15 September 2014
FILM REVIEW: THE INFINITE MAN
Love isn't perfect. And it never will be, no matter how much you plan or how hard you try. And try. And try. And try. It's a lesson that's learnt too late by the protagonist of The Infinite Man, writer-director Hugh Sullivan's trippy, time travel debut feature.
Having planned the perfect anniversary away with his girlfriend right down to the last detail, Dean (John McConville) finds his well laid plans immediately thrown out the window: the motel he and Lana (Hannah Marshall) stayed at the previous year -- close to the beach but seemingly in the middle of nowhere -- is no longer in business.
And not before long, Hannah's ex, Terry (Alex Dimitriades), an ex-Olympic javelin thrower with questionable Greek heritage and an even more questionable grasp on reality, gatecrashes their getaway determined to win Hannah back. And somehow he succeeds? Worst. Anniversary. Ever.
But rather than grieve and move on, Dean refuses to leave the past behind: he's determined to revisit it - and fix it. Somehow Dean fashions a sort of time machine (Sullivan isn't big on explanations) and on the anniversary of that previous anniversary, he invites Hannah back to the rundown motel so they can travel back one year and right the wrongs. What could possibly go wrong?
As multiple Deans and Lanas -- and a Terry or two -- begin to arrive in the middle of nowhere, things become further complicated. Previous events and conversations are viewed from entirely different angles yet even with the advantage of hindsight (or is it foresight?), Dean still can't manage to have events go in his favour. Time is either linear or circular depending on your school of thought, but the human heart is unpredictable and human error almost always inevitable.
The second Australian film this year to play with time travel (after the recent mind-bender, Predestination), The Infinite Man does so more inventively and far more comically. But while the film will invite comparisons to both Groundhog Day and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, it has neither the laughs of the former nor the emotional resonance of the latter.
Still all three performances in The Infinite Man are good, particularly McConville's, even if one finds it hard to root for a hero who is such a loser (and a tad creepy). Nor does Marshall's Lana give any real indication as to why two men would be so obsessed with her. But the heart wants what it wants, even if Hugh Sullivan's film is very much an intellectual rather than emotional exercise.