Time travel is one of the most tantalising concepts in cinema.  The possibility of exploring uncharted worlds of the future, of re-living cherished moments from the past or even rectifying mistakes, holds an eternal fascination.  Unfortunately, very little of that fascination works its way into the quirky Australian time travel rom-com The Infinite Man.  This low budget film uses the mind blowing concept of time travel for little more than a dating dilemma.

Josh McConville plays the nerdy, doleful Dean who is desperately attempting to save his relationship with girlfriend Lana (Hannah Marshall).  His plan for a romantic weekend with Lana at a favourite holiday spot turns sour when they discover that the motel is an abandoned shell and Lana’s sleazy arrogant stalker Terry (Alex Dimitriades) has followed them there. Dean has a secret weapon, though, a time travel device (a skull cap with some wires attached) which can transport him back in time so that he might fix the disastrous weekend.  Not surprisingly the bumbling Dean creates nothing but chaos with his time machine as he plunges himself, Lana and Terry into a time loop that sees multiple versions of each person brought together and events playing out in ever more destructive fashion.

More a quirky romantic comedy than a science fiction film, The Infinite Man mimics the dead-pan style of shows like Flight of the Conchords with a sideways glance to the romantic longing of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the karmic redemption of Groundhog Day.  Unfortunately, this film, while sporadically funny, produces nowhere near as many laughs Conchords or Groundhog Day and is never as emotionally engaging as Eternal Sunshine.

Writer/ director Hugh Sullivan should, however, be admired for the deft way in which he has integrated the various plot lines and the multiple versions of each character.  He also touches on thought provoking issues such as controlling male behaviour and the destructive emotional forces in relationships.  Unfortunately, these more serious concerns are not explored in sufficient depth.  The biggest problem with this film, though, is that the central conceit of events repeating over and over becomes increasingly dull.  It doesn’t help that nearly the entire film is shot in the very uninteresting location of a large abandoned motel.  There just isn’t enough interesting material to sustain this film and it ultimately feels like a Tropfest entry that has been stretched to feature length.

The cast do their best with the material at hand. Josh McConville is amusing and mostly sympathetic as loveable loser Dean and he occasionally recalls Graeme Blundell’s characters from the 1970’s.  Hannah Marshall has a quirky appeal as Lana while Alex Dimitriades gives a strange, weirdly funny performance as the aggressive Terry.

Idiosyncratic films such as this tend to drastically divide audiences. Some will love this film’s oddball logic and dry wit while others will repeatedly check their watches and wish they could immediately time travel to the end of the film, this reviewer was in the latter camp.

Nick’s rating: **1/2.

Genre: Romantic Comedy/ Science Fiction.

Classification: MA.

Director(s): Hugh Sullivan.

Release date: 18th Sept 2014

Running time: 85 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast. 

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