It’s a shame the small production for Time Lapse did not allow the licensing of Nickleback songs. “Look at this photograph” is too perfect a lyric. It describes much of Time Lapse, where characters shove photos into the face of one other. Not without reason – the photos are from the future, spit up by a wall-sized Polaroid camera located in the apartment across from them.
Through the (mostly) creative application of time travel, Time Lapse furiously introduces themes of destiny and the greedy nature of humankind. We’re jerks it turns out. Imbecilic, incompetent jerks.
Time Lapse loops through three characters, almost entirely in a single room. They’re struggling. One is a waitress, another a painter, the third a hot-headed gambler. Insert an obligatory “walks into a bar” joke here. They fight and bicker to an extent that it’s a wonder how they were ever roommates. They’re incompatible.
But, they’re not people. They’re allegorical figments. The greed infects the gambler, the liar hides the camera’s foretold crime, and the artist is a self-enamored egotist. Time Lapse plays out with marginal tension given their place. The indecision of three conflicting personalities shatters the illusion – the gambler fights for betting scraps with a shady bookie instead of dealing with a licensed lottery bureau. Not smart.
Human nature then takes hold. Murder becomes casual, the reaction to the murder more so. There are no scenes of frantic screaming and little discussion of escape. The bigger dissent is a soon-to-be disloyal lover (the camera said so), not the growing number of dead rotting in a storage container. It was destiny to kill those people anyway.
Time Lapse sets rules and stays with them.
Time Lapse sets rules and stays with them.
Much of the writing feels cautious – even defensive – about covering loose ends. A stray phone call here, a forcible mention there; Time Lapse makes sure plot distractions are kept minimal. Time Lapse sets rules and stays with them. No one tinkers with the camera or even explores any further functionality. It works, they follow. The device is but a science fiction catalyst for a dramatic morality play.
And mostly, the execution is commendable. The narrative takes leaps and each day’s image drops another potential story bomb. In terms of recent time travel, Time Lapse is more Project Almanac than Predestination. The odds, the stakes; they’re small. No one in a film of six or so people is altering the fabric of reality. They are simply being idiots amongst themselves when a few others stumble into their plot. Small time. But, who said human indecency had to impact everyone?
Captured on the Red Epic and on a budget, Time Lapse is not exploding with incredible imagery. Still, the consistency is noteworthy. Close-ups are precise, clean, and free of imperfection. This goes for day or night. Sharpness captures the wood grain of the paneling in the living room and other such assorted details. Paintings are visible down to brush strokes. Resolution excels.
A few bouts of noise are nothing to be bothered by. Xlarator does fine encoding work with material that is less than challenging. The Red’s images are clean and cinematography is mostly static.
Tweaks to the palette lend Time Lapse a yellow-ish tint. It’s a minor tweak. Most scenes feature natural flesh tones and lighting schemes with limited digital tinkering. Night brings in satisfactory black levels, keeping Time Lapse’s video filled with depth no matter the conditions.
The budget does show on the sonic side, keeping audio tightly restricted to the center. This 5.1 mix may never use the surround channels at all, and stereos exists to punch out music on occasion. Even a party fails to find the rears, and gunshots only break free into the sides.
As a single moment of note, the camera itself does produce an electrical hum prior to firing. The LFE catches enough of the machine’s actions to cause a mild rumble.
Director Bradley King and writer/producer BP Cooper pair for two commentaries, the first focused on story elements, the second offering a “filmmaking 101” course. The latter is excellent for showing what (or not) to do, in full admittance of their mistakes. It’s fun. Three deleted scenes are also given commentaries, and an excellent 22-minute behind-the-scenes piece is enlightening.
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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.