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Movie Review

Time Travelers


Starring: Elliot V. Kotek and Gabe Bettio
Director: Joe Christiana
Christiana Productions
Running time: 29 mins
Currently showing at film festivals

It’s always good to see independent film makers trying out something new, even if it is with an old idea. There can’t be many ways to find a new twist on time travel, but it seems that Joe Christiana has managed to.

movie imageTime Travelers (2012 - 29 min, 24 sec) is a film about two old friends who meet by accident in a waiting room. The film is written and directed by Christiana, and stars Elliot V. Kotek (Scott) and Gabe Bettio (James).

When we first meet them one is apparently happily married, Scott is a large unpleasant character, I wasn’t really sure why he was immediately portrayed as so unlikable when he meets his old friend James, but considering how the film ends this is in character.

Within moments the picture breaks and the friends are somewhere else. Before the audience can realign their perception of what is happening the scene shifts again, back to the waiting room. Scott eventually asks James to visit him in the evening which he does and doesn’t do.

The title it a big clue that the film's central premise involves time travel. We have two supposed old friends meeting again by accident, then we move to the apartment with the two spending time together where Scott rambles on about the meaning of time. The odd thing about the scene is their relationship.

movie imageHere, Scott’s reaction to James feels odd. He attacks him with his words at the same time as trying to explain to him what he has discovered. If he is trying to enlighten his friend why is he being so aggressive? Well I can’t tell you that, to do so would be to give away the plot and the excellent ending.

The film is shot on what looks to be a reasonably good digital camera, with all the good and bad that goes with this. It does give the shots a sense of hyper reality, in tune with the film's subject, whilst as the same time producing a picture that looks a little soft.

I didn’t quite get why so much of the film appears to have been shot with a hand held, there is a noticeable movement to the picture, in later sections this makes sense, giving the shots a feeling of shifting instability which is in perfect tune with not only the instability of the friend’s relationship, but also their position in time. However, it would have been more effective had the opening shots been steady and the instability introduced gradually.

movie imageSome sequences are not obvious on the first viewing; shots of children are presented without an explanation as to whether we are looking at time travel or memory imposed on travel. This is as it should be as it adds to the general unsettled feeling of the film. The travel is represented as an acid head's take on the Stargate travel gate sequence.

Both actors do a good job, although for obvious reasons James is the more sympathetic character, who is a writer, drifting through life, though that is not to say he does not also have his dark side. Scott is instantly dislikable, presuming that he’s not actually like this in life he does a good job of creating an impression of his character almost immediately.

Christiana uses every trick in his directorial toy box to unsettle the audience and at times it almost feels like your grip on the narrative is in danger of slipping, he deliberately bombards the audience with juxtaposed shots to keep you focused, although I guarantee you will not guess the twist in the tale.

The film is doing the rounds and is well worth a look.


Charles Packer

Screen shot

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