Time Lapse (2014)

(Netflix Streaming, January 2017) I tend to become oddly protective of some low-budget films, and Time Lapse is the kind of small-scale SF movie that I want to tell people about. It’s certainly not a perfect film. The limits of the budget are clearly delineated by the few sets, limited cast of characters, indifferent acting and muddy cinematography. But at the same time, it does have quite a bit of charm in the way it tells an unusual time-travel story, based on a camera that can see 24 hours in the future. The intimate but tight script eventually deals with get-rich schemes, artistic inspiration, predestination, curious criminals and intimate betrayals. At the end, it feels like a classic Science Fiction short story that could have been published in the genre magazine at any time since the 1970s—a rather high compliment for a low-budget movie. Writer/director Bradley King cleverly makes the most out of what he has at his disposal, and the result is a pleasant surprise—especially compared to some movies of the same budget/genre. Danielle Panabaker isn’t bad as the secret protagonist of the story, while Matt O’Leary and George Finn are blander as the other main characters. Ingenious, surprising and more finely controlled than many other time-travel films, Time Lapse classifies as a hidden gem. Keep your expectations low and you may be pleasantly surprised.

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