Ever since I saw PRIMER, I’ve been searching for a movie that can give me continued feelings of confusion and curiosity upon repeat viewing. In THE INFINITE MAN, the feature film debut of writer/director Hugh Sullivan, I’ve finally found it. But it is also full of joy and romance. Sullivan’s film is a witty comedy that keeps the viewer on edge the whole time, trying to anticipate how the characters are going to escape the infinite time loop that they themselves have created, and constantly paying off moments from earlier in the film by revealing new information.

The basic plot of THE INFINITE MAN centers around an anniversary weekend that goes terribly wrong, as over-prepared Dean, a scientist, tries to bring his girlfriend Lana back to the hotel they spent the previous anniversary at, only to find it closed and abandoned. To make matters worse, Lana’s ex boyfriend Terry, an Olympic javelin thrower, shows up and takes Lana away. Dean’s unorthodox solution, building a time machine and sending himself back to this exact moment, seems to work until he and Lana get swapped for the original Dean and Lana and end up in the wrong time line. How do you fix that? Go back again, of course. With each attempt to ‘fix’ the weekend, Dean only adds another layer of mess and confusion, providing a perfect metaphor to a relationship.

Sullivan’s script is flat out brilliant: funny, tender, and thought provoking. It is also is a virtuoso use of essentially one location and three actors – there is so much going on here, you never focus on just how little was necessary to make this film. It helps that every character delivers their own surprises (even the dimwit jock) so it never gets predictable. Also, the nature of the script allows the viewer to enjoy seeing the same location over and over again, each time a little different – whether a different angle or with a different piece of knowledge in our head.

THE INFINITE MAN had its premiere at SXSW in March where it may have been overshadowed a bit by PREDESTINATION, starring Ethan Hawke (another Australian time travel film). But whereas that film really gets bogged down in its own paradoxes, this film is so extraordinarily simple that there is space for all the time-travel mumbo jumbo that has to fill your head as you watch. The motives are very clear, and they keep explaining what they are doing, so you aren’t lost… at least for what they are trying to do. Of course, they are often wrong and end up just as lost as we are. And what makes THE INFINITE MAN truly special is it is not about any of that. It’s a love story, and one that if you are not careful, will really touch you.

THE INFINITE MAN opens theatrically May 23rd, making its NYC premiere as part of Rooftop Films’ Summer Series.



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