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"Time Lapse" Review

While perusing my Netflix app I spotted Time Lapse co-starring Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow from The Flash) as a young woman living with her artist boyfriend and their slackerish roommate. The boyfriend is also the super for their seemingly unpopulated apartment complex and as such as keys to the units including that of their neighbor across the way.

When his mail piles up, Panabaker goes into his place and discovers a huge camera which is pointed out the window into their place's window and thanks to no one ever closing curtains is spitting out Polaroids which they determine as being from the next day. The man's mysteriously burned body - he clothes are untouched - is found in a store room and combined with a diary entry about attempting to change the future they are afraid to deviate from what is portrayed in the photos.

As anyone who would have knowledge of the future and has seen Back to the Future II would do, they start making bets on dog races to make all sorts of easy money. Of course, things start taking a turn for the worse as the suspicious bookie comes around wondering why the slacker is always winning and tensions rise as more disturbing images start issuing from the Magic Camera like Panabaker getting physically involved with the slacker while her boyfriend appears to be sleeping. (Again, open curtains?)

Time Lapse is a frustrating movie because the premise is intriguing, but the execution is weak. The performances by the men are flat and unnatural, hampered by unrealistic dialog and increasingly ludicrous behavior. A character appears about 2/3rds of the way through who seems to know what the man was doing, but just as those possibilities are presented, that plot thread is ended. There is a security guard character occasionally patrolling the grounds of this tiny complex where we never see another tenant only to have him become a plot detail later. (I live in a bigger complex than seen in this movie and there's no roving security man and I see my neighbors even if I don't interact with them.)

Then there's the usual bugbear of time travel movies, causality, as the characters are slavishly living to end up where the pictures portray them being even if they mean she's got to kiss someone she's not dating "because that's what's in the picture." The artist has been creatively blocked, so he solves that by painting what's in the photo even if he doesn't know what the images mean. They have to post the winners of that day's dog races in order to appear in yesterday's photo; it's all a confusing mess, but may've worked if the execution was better.

Score: 4/10. Skip it.


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