Now this here is one a trip of a movie. Made locally in my home state of South Australia, it does a fantastic job of managing a meager budget, using basically one or two sets, and only three actors. And that is all that is needed. I had read about this making the round at festivals and getting almost universal praise, and I can certainly see why. This is definitely not your average time travel movie, nor is it very sappy or sentimental at all, despite the romantic reasons driving the film.
This romantic basis becomes not so romantic as the main character, a fantastic Josh McConville (Dean), plays an obsessive control freak, intent on recreating a perfect holiday from a year previous for his partner Lana. Lana scoffs at the idea and comments on Dean's obsessive and controlling nature, but seeing his invention, she becomes intrigued. From here, the story travels into unexplored territory regarding time-travel flicks, as when the characters begin to time-travel, they start to see.. versions of themselves, from the past.. or the future. The original couple witness themselves repeating the same dialogue from the start of the film, but here, they are watching nervously from a window in the abandoned hotel that serves as the film's main set. Once more and more versions of Dean start to appear, it reeeally starts to become a trip, and somewhat of a puzzle.
Dean starts becomes jealous of
himself, albeit himself from the future, as each different Dean has his own traits, and each time he time-travels he becomes more confident, leading to more jealousy from the original Dean. The way McConville plays these parts is particularly noteworthy, as he essentially plays three or four characters.. as the same person. The jealously he shows towards other versions of himself is quite hilarious. In fact, there were many laughs along these lines.
Dean is nerdy – he built this machine – and he is also prone to crying; fodder for more laughter. A sudden twist occurs with the sudden appearance of Dean's partner's ex-lover, who wants his girl back. This self-obsessed, brilliantly conceived character is yet more food for laughs. He is an Aussie Greek who is rather amusingly obsessed with his Olympic level javelin skills (a javelin he carries with him where ever he goes, it would seem), and of his proud Greek heritage. He considers himself a Greek god
despite the fact that he isn't actually Greek. Despite dressing, acting, and looking Greek. What makes his character really work is that he is essentially the polar opposite to Dean, leaving Lana unsure of the man she wants to be with.
With unpredictable scenes following unpredictable scenes, this is really a movie that forces you to think, while laughing, and feeling for Dean's character. It also shows the consequences of trying to control everything, even to the point of time travel. It also subtly comments on two very different men, and how they interact with each other, as well as the love of both their lives. Lana is faced with a choice, but how can she know which Dean is the one she first arrived with at the abandoned hotel? And does she want her old spark's bravado, or Dean's brains? I really enjoyed this one, apart from the ending, which felt abrupt and had me thinking "nooo! this can't be it!". I thought they could have played the funny and intriguing concept a little further, but I can definitely see why this got the attention it did. It is a fascinating puzzle of a movie, one which I want to see again as soon as I can so I can piece it all together. It is certainly one of those movies that thoroughly deserves multiple viewings, despite its low-budget, a single set, and three actors. It is this economic filmmaking that makes the film a real treat, as the limited budget does not limit the movie at all, in fact, a limited budget almost always breeds creativity in my opinion. That is certainly the case here, as Hugh Sullivan has created a gem of a movie, intensely unique and praised around the world. If only it got more recognition in the state in was filmed in.
4/5 – Filled with laughs and intrigue, but one can't help that the ending was lack-lustre and very abrupt. Apart from this minor gripe, this is a fantastic film. Highly recommended.