Paradox (2016)

(Netflix Streaming, February 2017) This is my fourth low-budget independent time-travel SF thriller in a week, but it turns out that Paradox can hold its own against similar films. It’s not, to be blunt, a good movie. The dialogue is often awkward, the acting isn’t much better (one actor tasked with playing the comic relief doesn’t quite get how to do it and nearly every line of his falls flat as a result—on the other hand, Zoe Bell seems better than ever here), the special effects look cheap, the gore is over-the-top and some climactic elements are needlessly puzzling. But on the flip side, Paradox treats viewers with a coherent future-time-travel closed loop, a decent mash-up of time-travel tropes, some moments of comedy, decent tension and a finale that does wrap things up satisfyingly once you’re willing to play along. It also features one of the funniest exposition scenes in recent memory: “And then, well, then he’s Schrodinger’s cat. Crippled and not crippled at the same time. Except not that. ¶ Is that the best you can do?” Plus, Paradox plays games with the notion of a viewpoint protagonist, something that becomes a big part of the ending. (See “puzzling” above, but also “satisfyingly”.) As a calling card for writer/director Michael Hurst, this is likely to get him quite a bit of attention, especially in the way he milks his budget to good effect. This film will work better on dedicated SF fans willing to cut some slack given budget limitations. In retrospect, I probably enjoyed it more because it was my fourth low-budget independent time-travel SF thriller in a week—I had more appropriate expectations, and the ways Paradox zigzagged with familiar tropes felt like a refreshing approach. Few people have seen this film, and that’s too bad—as a brainteaser, it’s quite a bit better than most big-budget studio films. Heck, I’d like to see a remake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *