Review – EIFF 2014 – The Infinite Man

 

The Infinite Man

Dir. Hugh Sullivan

The Infinite Man is the feature debut from writer and director Hugh Sullivan. The scientifically precise Dean, (Josh McConville), returns with his dear love Lana (Hannah Marshall) to a hotel resort that is as deserted as the surrounding they find themselves in to relive their one year anniversary. It’s not within Dean’s master plan and Dean is a man who is not used to things being out of control. Fearing that if he can’t offer Lana the perfect time she will leave him, which in his mind he can calculate the perfect occasion with scientific planning. Another uncontrollable variable is propelled into the mix when Lana’s ex-javelin boyfriend Terry, (Alex Dimitriades), shows up on the scene with the intention of winning her back. In a rage of jealousy and confusion, Dean forces Lana’s hand in ditching their anniversary for Terry. In his grief, Dean remains at the resort and plans to fix the problem by creating a time machine. One year later, he entices Lana not only to return, but also to travel back with him the year before to fix the problem. In effect, Dean only manages to escalate the problem by creating a loop that seems to trap not only himself but also Lana and where he becomes his own worst enemy, literally.

There are faults to be found in The Infinite Man, visually it is shot really well but at times feels a bit too short filmic, with central framing shots that at times feel non-essential or particularly unique. The idea of the film feels a little restricted via the choice of the location and centralised to three characters, but nevertheless as a self-contained film with presumable low budget this can be understandable and equally forgivable. The performances are brilliant, with particular praise for Josh and Alex. Although there are no issues with Hannah’s performance, her character is short in terms of quirky characteristics compared to the other two and is not particularly thrown into the emotional roller coaster Dean finds himself in. Dean is also a little at risk at maybe irritating audiences rather than receiving their sympathy with his somewhat at times pathetic-ness and needing of Lana’s love. It becomes obvious to the audience that Dean’s main problem is himself and not the metaphysical time-farce he has manifested. It’s also unclear what Lana brings for Dean. Tonally it could have done with growing to being a bit darker when Dean’s despair looks like it might never get solved. Nevertheless this is fairly nitpicking, as The Infinite Man is one the most impressive debut feature films I’ve seen in a long time. With an ingenious plot that will bend your mind for hours, it’s the sort of mastery Charlie Kaufman is marvelled for; all complimented with some great comic overtones that keep this more a comedy than a time-travel nerd fest. With a debut such as this, it might not take long for Hugh Sullivan to join the echelons of the Charlie Kaufmans and Wes Andersons of this world.

Chris Aitken

****

 

 

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