Thursday 5 September 2013

Those Who Forget the Past (2013)

Director: Jon Brown
Stars: Savana Kate Martin, Nikki Hicks, Jacob Morris and Nick Zaludek
This film was a submission to one of the IFP Phoenix film challenges in 2013. Here's an index to my reviews of 2013 submissions.
While The Disco is in the Details couldn't find a story, Those Who Forget the Past had a surprisingly substantial one but couldn't live up to it. After the rapid fire opening credits, with a stylish font and some intriguing music, we're thrown right into the action. A young lady crouches over the body of her dead boyfriend and swears that she can fix this. Apparently she can too, as her dad conveniently has a time machine sitting in the house, but she forgets about it for a whole week until an older lady tells her not to use it. Yeah, I got confused here too. Who is this woman, who can enunciate as well as the rest of the cast members can't? Why is she in this story, why does she know about the time machine and, if she doesn't want it used, why does she even bring it up? Of course, Ellie (or whatever the lead character's name is, as it got mumbled) is going to use it, and given the title, we can be pretty sure that we know how well it's going to turn out.

I have to give Jon Brown and his team credit for attempting something so complex in a 48 hour film challenge. It's ambitious and it's ballsy. Unfortunately it's also not very good. The dialogue is poorly written and poorly delivered, except for the friend's admirable enunciation. The sound is decent but there are a few flaws, the lighting no different. The set meets the need but doesn't stand out, just as the props do what they have to but no more. That time machine looks rather like a vertical heater or fan, certainly good enough for the brief glimpse we get but not enough to imprint as cool. The story may have a neat framework but it's not painted very well, with a bunch of holes and questions to sit with us. They're also thrown out at rapid speed, as if to suggest that we skip over them, but some of the other moments drag. This one could be worthy, but it'll take a great deal of rethinking, rewriting and reediting to get to that point. Maybe if we just trigger the machine instead...

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