By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
Have you ever thought to yourself, “What if Primer was a comedy?” No? Well, you’re clearly not Hugh Sullivan then.
“Okay, Mrs. Doubtfire as a horror film?” “Yes, please!”
The Infinite Man is about an awkward genius, Dean (Josh McConville), who takes his girlfriend, Lana (Hannah Marshall), back to the site of the previous year’s great vacation to recapture their feelings of the experience (literally as it turns out). When they arrive, though, the hotel is abandoned, her crazy ex Terry (Alex Dimitriades) shows up, and things culminate in a breakup. So… Dean’s solution is to build a time machine to transport them back to that fateful day, but once again things don’t go exactly as planned…
Even though its obvious comparison point is Primer, The Infinite Man is very much a unique beast. Its plot, which grows to encompass multiple versions (instances?) of all three characters, is just as difficult to wrap your head around, and you may find yourself wanting to pause it and diagram it out to keep track.
Here’s one poor soul’s attempt at Primer
However, this film will just as often use its convolutions to set up a laugh as it does to complicate the narrative. It’s a joy exploring the film how an awkward neurotic character like Dean would handle interacting with himself, or just how wild Dimitriades’s wildcard gets when there’s another of him around. The Infinite Man is both surprising and amusing throughout.
Sullivan also directs a fine-looking film, combining Zoe Barry and Jed Palmer’s engaging score with a slew of nicely composed wide shots and energetic closeups that reminded me a bit of Wes Anderson.
Your enjoyment depends on your level of quirk tolerance
Also, the ending is surprisingly powerful, casting a lot of which came before in a more emotional light.
Unfortunately, that emotion feels unearned. The plot tricks mirror a relationship’s rhythms cleverly, but from the point of view of the characters don’t make much sense at all.
Or, more accurately, it’s Lana’s decisions that don’t make any sense. Dean is obviously obsessed with her, but it’s difficult to see why she’s so obsessed with him. She’d have to be to agree with even a fraction of the creepy, dangerous, and manipulative things he asks her to do. I guess there aren’t a lot of time machine-building geniuses out there to choose from, but maybe go hang out at MIT and see if you can do better than this creep, or better yet, find somebody that treats you like somebody with your own agency and motivations.
The Infinite Man is an incredibly inventive, quite funny time travel tale best appreciated as a comedy.
The Infinite Man is making its NYC premiere at the Rooftop Films Summer Series. Look for it soon!
Take a Drink: for geeky sex jokes
Take a Drink: for each time jump
Take a Drink: whenever Dean crosses from romantic right to creepy
Take a Drink: every time he cries
Take a Drink: whenever Dean gets jealous of himself
Do a Shot: when Tony meets Terry