[Ruby Hornet will be covering SXSW from March 7th to March 16th. Follow along as we bring you exclusive film reviews, photos, daily features, and interviews with filmmakers, actors, and musicians!]
The Infinite Man
Director: Hugh Sullivan
Release Date: March 7, 2014 (SXSW)
Time travel films are my kryptonite, and I don’t mean that in a negative way whatsoever. If I find out a film has some type of sci-fi element that involves intricate loops and that not only add depth to the narrative, but also gets audiences more involved and invested in piecing all of the events and characters together. When used properly, the time travel device can greatly enhance the experience; misused, and it just feels like any other gimmicky device to entice potential audiences. The Infinite Man is not such a film.
To celebrate their anniversary, the eccentric scientist Dean (Josh McConville) takes Lana (Hannah Marshall) to special resort with a full itinerary planned. However, when it turns out that the location has closed, Dean does everything he can to salvage the weekend. His quest for the perfect weekend is further ruined when Lana’s ex-boyfriend, Terry (Alex Dimitriades), shows up, and an altercation between the two men takes place. After letting Lana leave with Terry, Dean spends the next year dedicated to meet the perfection he was unable to display a year prior by creating a time traveling device. Through a series of events, Dean takes Lana into the past in hopes of salvaging the lost weekend… no matter how many attempts it takes.
At its base, The Infinite Man is a love story with a sci-fi ploy to help drive the main crux of the film. However, the story isn’t just about Dean’s love for Lana; rather, it’s the journey of his ability to let go and understand that he can’t always be in control of everything. As somebody who can sometimes be a meticulous planner and has to schedule almost every facet of his life days and weeks ahead (you should see my SXSW schedule), I empathized strongly with Dean. His ethos is driven not from his desire to control Lana, but to express just how much he loves her. Unfortunately, his attempts to express himself goes too far.
With one set, a barebones cast of characters, and an emotional story that must be carried not only emotionally, but comedically by its cast, The Infinite Man could have easily fallen apart were it not for McConville and Marshall’s acting abilities, with Dimitriades’ smaller role balancing the two leads with his comedic follies. McConville fits not only as the everyman protagonist that anybody would cheer for, but also for those of us who are so full of love, but struggle to express it properly and fittingly. Marshall’s role as the object of Dean’s desires could have been marginalized to bring further focus on Dean, but writer/director Hugh Sullivan wrote her part exceptionally well so that she not only was Dean’s “reward,” but also a capable support for him. (Unfortunately, I can’t go deeper than that for fear of spoilers.)
Lighthearted and fun in its comedy, nuanced with depth in its narrative, The Infinite Man could have been one large mess of a film. However, Sullivan’s ability to not only keep the sci-fi elements clear and easy to understand, but to keep the focus at Dean’s personal core is what helps The Infinite Man balance everything deftly. You’ll enjoy putting the puzzle pieces together; you’ll cheer Dean on, even when you’ve noticed the negative signs of his acts; and you’ll leave the film with a smile on your face.