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Movie Review: Time Lapse

“Don’t f*** with time.”

What would you do if you could know what would happen tomorrow? Would you bet on dog racing and make lots of paintings? If the answer is yes, this movie is for you. If the answer is no, you might still enjoy it. It’s a decent film.

Finn (Matt O’Leary), Jasper (George Finn), and Callie (Danielle Panabaker from The Flash) are roomies in LA. When their neighbor dies, they discover a gigantic camera (it looks something like an iron lung) in his apartment. And they realize three things: it looks directly into their apartment, it is too heavy to move, and it takes pictures of the future.

Specifically, it takes one polaroid every night but prints it out the previous day. So if the gang is watching TV in front of their large picture window on Thursday night, a picture of them doing so will print on Wednesday. As time-travel rules go, it has a simple grace that I appreciate.

Finn, Jasper, and Callie are quick to make use of this camera—that’s where the dog racing comes in as a way to make quick cash. Finn is also a painter, so he’s treated to a daily promise of what he’s about to paint. Callie seems to be along for the ride, although she’s often the one who agitates most for maintaining a sort of continuity: if they are wearing tinfoil hats and dancing a tango in a picture, she makes sure she’s got the Reynold’s wrap and a rose ready to go. To do otherwise would, they think, cause the world to end. Or something.

The pleasure of this film is in the causality loops. They put so much effort into fulfilling the promise of each picture, even if the picture is of something negative, that they wind up causing events to spiral out of control. It’s rather delightful to watch how quickly they do, and how the mechanics of the photographs has a substantial payoff in the end.

Is this a great film? Nah. It doesn’t need to be: it’s one of many low-budget time-travel (or picture travel, in this case, I guess?) movies in which the premise is the strongest element and all else is sufficient. But if you enjoy time-travel, then you will probably enjoy this.

Three out of four dog races.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


  1. I saw this one about a month ago on Netflix and was pleasantly surprised by how skillfully it was written and acted, and how everything at the end was so well set up at the beginning. It's definitely worth watching, and your review pretty much reflects exactly what I thought about it, Josie. (Josie and I tend to have the same opinion of a lot of things. Why is that?)

  2. I watched this a couple months ago and was surprised at how much it stuck with me.

    And: be careful. Otherwise you might let on that we're the same person, thanks to time travel causality loops. Or something.


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