Time Lapse (2014)

These time travel sci-fi movies usually struggle with paradoxes and continuity. If you want something to have a lot of mass market appeal, you have to dumb-down as much as possible, and you really walk the line of screwing up causality altogether. When you look at something like Back to the Future, for example, you can semi-maintain plausibility in the first movie (not really), but then you destroy the entire timeline in the second movie, but those were supposed to be more about the characters than about the technology.

This movie also shrouds the technology in mystery, and it uses that perspective to dismiss any quantum issues or discussions about the nature of time. This trio of roommates discovers that the crazy old scientist who lives across the parking lot has been taking pictures of their apartment with a mysterious camera that takes pictures of the future. After discovering it, the three forward their own personal plans for using the information from the future for personal gain.

The leader in this team is the artist who works in this apartment complex as the general handyman. He had lost his inspiration, so he couldn't paint anything, and he uses the machine to predict what he will paint, thus bypassing his own creative block. Matt O'Leary plays this bookish and self-absorbed artist who does not actually appear to have all that much skill, but the movie isn't really about if he sucks or not.

The other male roommate is played by George Finn, and he's the gambler who doesn't really seem all that trustworthy throughout the movie. Honestly, it becomes hard to imagine a world where it was okay for him to move into the apartment in the first place. He's kind of creepy, paranoid (which gets worse as time progresses), innately violent, and a more than casual drug user. As a character, his existence here seems forced, but George plays the character well enough.

Danielle Panabaker is the female of the team, and she is girlfriend of the artist. Aside from that, it seems like she doesn't really have much of a plan or anything. That said, I commented to the wife on more than one occasion that things with her didn't seem right. The wife agreed. I eventually came up with a theory and expressed it to the wife, and I won't spoil things by telling you what it was.

What I don't get (as an engineer) is why these people didn't seem to have any desire to figure out how the machine worked or even how to operate it. They appeared to have done no research, and they instead relied on the existing settings and the hope that no one would come to shut down their little game. Every day, they just have their future dictated to them bu the picture, and that's what they aim for.

Also, what the hell kind of a payday is betting on dogs with a bookie? You are constrained by your own cash as a basis for the payout. Why not just use the lottery numbers for a few hundred million dollars of legal cash? And what kind of "inspiration" is looking at a picture that has already been drawn and copying it? I don't get the motivations or the subsequent actions.

Direction was okay
Story was inventive
Dialog was good
Acting was very good
Characters were not believable

Bottom Line: Not a bad movie, but certainly not a great one.



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