The 2014 film Time Lapse is Bradley King‘s first full length feature as a director. He co-wrote the film with producer BP Cooper and the film is combination of thriller and science fiction genres and feels like a mix of The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents all rolled into one. The basic plot draws from the old Rod Serling classic series from an episode about a camera stolen by two thieves.
While the story may have admittedly been influenced by A Most Unusual Camera it also has elements of another “Zone” episode (that starred William Shatner in his pre-Kirk days on Star Trek) titled Nick of Time. The blend is that in the first instance a camera appears to tell the future and in the second, a fortune telling machine dictates a young couple’s actions. In a nutshell, this is the plot behind Time Lapse; a camera that tells the future and a trio of people who alter their actions to match the photos. The Alfred Hitchcock connection is the twist at the end and the overall “feel” of the film.
Starring Danielle Panabaker (The Flash, The Crazies), Matt O’Leary (Brick, Live Free or Die Hard) and George Finn (LOL, Just Before I Go) are the three young adults who share an apartment. O’Leary is frustrated painter Finn, Panabaker is his writer girlfriend Callie and Finn is Jasper a free spirit who self medicates and gambles. Their neighbor, Mr Bezzerides lives across the way and he has a camera. The machine takes pictures that feature events 24 hours in the future.
Bezzerides falls behind in his rent and Finn, who is the apartment complex’s manager is called by the landlord. Callie goes to check and they find the camera and shortly after, the man’s body. The three get caught up in the device, which makes Jasper a load of money from bets, cures Finn’s “painter’s block” and helps Callie get her boyfriend back.
The good fortune from knowing their immediate future soon turns into a trap where they must “match” the pictures to insure their safety.
This small budgeted exercise is entertaining in an old-fashioned sense. Story heavy and not overloaded with special effects. The actors all do a great job filling out their characters so that the twist at the end is sold very well.
In terms of characters there were two British actors in the cast who both get short shrifted before the end credits roll.
Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies (who is almost a staple in any film requiring a deep voiced “Brit”) was cast as Bezzerides but apart from a photograph, never appears. Apparently the performer filmed two scenes that wound up on the cutting room floor. The end result feature the picture and nothing else.
Liverpool born award winning actress Sharon Maughan, (Who starred in those Nescafe “Gold Blend” adverts with Anthony Head years ago and who is Mrs. Trevor Eve when she isn’t working in US Indie films.) has a tiny cameo where she, at least, is heard and seen before being dispatched rather quickly. It looks like the foreigners were hard done by in this entertaining little film.
There are some plot holes to be sure. Anything dealing with time issues, fortune telling and changing fates always end up with holes big enough to drive a Mack truck through, but the film works regardless. The conviction of the actors combined with King’s direction makes the whole thing work.
The presentation is not flawless, for one thing it does feel a little like a pilot for a TV series. There are things that jar but to be far, the end of the film proves that the trip there was not so fraught with inconsistencies that it influenced the message. Essentially the final word from the film is, as one character says, messing with time winds up punishing someone in the end.
Time Lapse may feel a little like a TV “Movie of the Week” but it is a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars, despite the cutting of Davies’ presence except for a photo. Streaming on US Netflix at the moment, this is well worth a look.