Part Primer, part Groundhog Day and large part Eternal Sunshine…, as their amalgamation this quirky time travel romance is an intellectually stimulating and charmingly funny feature. With performances of integrity and depth, the magic behind Hugh Sullivan’s remarkably assured debut is the revelatory nature to its narrative; as the timelines traverse one another, we periodically gain insights previously disclosed information which gratifyingly informs our cinematic spin in this world.
Meticulous and neurotic scientist Dean (Josh McConville) attempts to recreate his first anniversary with girlfriend Lara (Hannah Marshall) one year on but a fiasco follows with the unexpected arrival of her macho ex-lover Terry (Alex Dimitriades), who provides the best gags in the film. Left deserted and desolate after his Pythagoras way of lovemaking loses out to Terry’s Old Testament blood and guts (and a cattle prod), he spends the next year perfecting a time machine to go back to that incident a year before and perfect the weekend he’d so painstakingly planned. Perfection eludes him however as an infinite loop is initiated and soon enough multiple Dean’s, Lara’s and Terry’s from various timelines are interacting, resulting in all manner of wacky and joyous junctures.
Emerging as an unassuming farce, it gradually transforms into a sharp mindbender that’s ripe with unorthodox metaphysical exploration and a memorable emotional essence. It’s a very cleverly constructed film but Sullivan never places the brains ahead of the bittersweet tale within it. Dean’s absurd determination and devotion to a light at the end of the time travel head piece highlights a relatable story of a tender soul clinging to love, although Lana could afford more development to further appreciate Dean’s effort.
Edinburgh International Film Festival, 2014.