Time Lapse (2014) – An example of how storytelling is everything.

I caught this one on Netflix the other night, at the time I thought it was bad but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.  This is bringing to light for me the question of “What makes a bad movie?”

This film is about a group of three roommates who discover that their neighbour has been taking polaroids of their window that show what’s going to happen 24 hours in the future.  Naturally, as soon as they realize this it starts to mess with their lives and their heads.  It’s a really great concept, I’m just really on the fence about how well it was executed.

Time Lapse had this gritty low budget independent feel to it.  In the beginning that really stuck out for me but the more I became invested in the story the less I tended to notice that.  I found myself thinking things like “that was a really cool shot” or “I like what they did there.”  Yet, I also found myself thinking things like “the lighting in this scene is awkward.”  There were a lot of things that felt really forced, both with the performances and the storytelling.  The exposition was handled in a very obvious ways and the themes weren’t buried under any kind of subtlety.  Yet it was just mind bending enough that I keep going back to the events trying to make sense of the mega-twist at the end.  I even thought of watching it again, which is a weird sensation for a film I initially wrote off as bad.

The key consideration here might be that no matter how solid the concept, the script is everything.  There needs to be a good structure there for every department to hang their contribution onto.  This production had heart, you can tell that those involved believed in it and tended delicately to every detail.  The story was good enough on its own merit that the elements that were originally off-putting faded away as my desire to know what happened intensified.  But the script was a little flat, leaving the actors not much to work with and kind of holding the viewer’s hands through critical plot points instead of letting the story progress more organically.   But ultimately, for all its flaws it managed to hold my attention to the end and even  keep my interest afterward.  A person who is usually very overly critical of movies gave this one heaps of forgiveness because I enjoyed the story.

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