Time Again

Dir: Ray Karwel
Star: Angela Rachelle, Scott F. Evans, Tara Smoker, John T. Woods

Sisters Marlo (Rachelle) and Sam (Smoker) work at the same diner; after swapping shifts one afternoon, Marlo heads off, but there's an incident at the diner, which results in a number of deaths and Sam vanishing without trace. A few months later, Marlo is attacked by criminal boss Mr. Way (Evans) and his underlings, but rescued by Detective Lym (Woods). So far, so fairly normal. However, Marlo then meets a mysterious old woman, who asks whether she would do more if she could go back in time and relive that afternoon again. Marlo finds herself getting exactly that opportunity, though her first attempt to fix things doesn't go as planned. She does discover that Mr. Way's interest in the siblings, centers on recovering four antique coins his accountant gave Sam as a tip; turns out those relics possess the power to allow the holder to open a portal through time.

Obviously, any film concerning this sort of thing is ripe with paradoxes, but the script airily hand-waves away cares about those things, and keeps pushing forward: probably the best approach. Once the time-travel aspect shows up [which, admittedly, probably takes a little too long], the film becomes significantly more interesting, though remains nothing too original. If you can't think of a good half-doezn films that have covered more or less the same ground, you're not trying. However, it's a genre I love - Run Lola Run is the obvious pick of the crop - and I'll happily sit through another one, any time. The potential here is undeniable, and I can't help thinking it would make a great Doctor Who episode [they already kinda went there in Turn Left, I guess]. While the plot might not stand up to intense scrutiny, it keeps moving and the cardinal sin of B-movies - being boring - is never committed here.

On the negative side, its low-budget origins are occasionally obvious, to the point that the makers would have been better off not bothering e.g. the alleged "SWAT team" or the digital explosion at the film's climax. Meanwhile some of the performances appear to be as wooden as the diner tables, though we generally enjoyed leads Evans and Rachelle [the former comes over like an evil Montel Williams]. The film was also clearly shot in several different locations, which look entirely different, rather than the single building they are supposed to be. The script is occasionally slipshod too, as when Lym complains about being down to his last magazine, but then goes on to fire 27 further bullets in the gun-battle which immediately follows: we rewound the film and counted.

You certainly need to watch this with an awareness and acceptance of its origins and limitations, as far as budget and scale are concerned. No-one will mistake this for a Hollywood blockbuster, and judging it by such standards would be equally erroneous. Still, the production values are generally solid, and what's the most important thing, is that this kept us entertained while things unfolded. Can't ask for more than that.

[The film is now available widely, through Brain Damage Films. Check out their website for more information.]

[September 2011]

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