A man’s attempts to construct the ultimate romantic weekend backfire in Hugh Sullivan’s The Infinite Man, which gets its UK premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Review by Alex Watson
The Infinite Man is the mind bending story of one determined boyfriend’s well-meaning efforts to capture and preserve the perfect anniversary. When Dean’s (Josh McConville) plans to surprise his girlfriend Lana (Hannah Marshall) on a weekend away go wrong, he whips out his handy home made time machine (Blue Peter style) and goes back in an attempt to fix things. As is usually the case with time travel, things don’t go quite as smoothly as Dean intends, prompting some amusing and occasionally upsetting consequences.
Set primarily in and around an abandoned motel in southern Australia, this indie, rustic sci-fi is impressively minimalist. Sets are desolately sparse, and the only other actor to join McConville and Marshall on screen is Alex Dimitriades, who plays Lana’s meddling ex-boyfriend Terry. Things get increasingly confusing when past, present and future versions of the trio begin to appear alongside one another and even have conversations. These interactions are seamlessly shot and edited, and a credit to director Hugh Sullivan in his first feature length project.
Despite Dean’s romantic intentions, the film is a dark comedy in the main, with some extremely bleak moments. An intense and dramatic soundtrack leaves the viewer on edge as the frustrated hero spirals into a relentless time loop, somewhat akin to Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. As The Infinite Man nears its conclusion, even the characters seem confused as to who is who and what is really going on.
Just as quickly as present day Dean figures out how to win Lana back and escape the loop, past or future Dean will inadvertently mess everything up all over again. The film may be exhausting to watch and tricky to follow, but its moral is clear – throughout life we are ultimately only competing with ourselves. Like many of us, Dean is his own worst enemy and (despite blaming others) is the only one standing in the way of his own happiness.
The Infinite Man screens on Thu 26 June (8.40pm) and Fri 26 June (6.10pm) as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (more info)
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