Director: Hugh Sullivan
MPAA Rating: NR
Film Pulse Score: 8/10
The concept of the time travel romance movie is one that’s starting to feel slightly played out. With so many of these stories involving a man traveling through time to be with his true love or a couple’s bond stronger than time itself, or a magic mailbox that brings lovers together, it feels like it’s just too much. With that in mind, I went into the Australian time travel love story The Infinite Man with caution. I’m happy to say this happens to be by far the best time travel romance movie I’ve seen, and is a damn fine comedy to boot. Writer/director Hugh Sullivan presents an extremely elaborate, yet somehow understandable story about a guy just trying to give his girlfriend a perfect anniversary. Think of it like Primer, only with more humor and Australian people.
Dean (Josh McConville) is aiming to give his girlfriend Lana (Hannah Marshall) a perfect anniversary weekend. He books a resort out in the desert and meticulously plans every little thing on the agenda. Unfortunately, when they get to the resort they find it abandoned and in incredible disrepair. To make matters worse, Lana’s ex-boyfriend Terry (Alex Dimitriades) shows up and attempts to win her back after five years of being separated. As it turns out, Dean brought a time machine with him and uses it to travel back to make things right and correct the mistakes. Too bad for him it fouls things up even more and before he knows it things get messy.
Although the comedic aspects are The Infinite Man’s strongest qualities, the time travel mechanics are complex and sophisticated. Like Primer, this is a film that benefits from a diagram showing how the timelines intersect and who is from what time. Because the film only takes place in one location, the presence of multiple versions of each character that appear at different times makes for a confusing, but oddly logical plot. It’s one of those movies where as soon as you figure out how it all fits together you instantly feel like the smartest person in the room.
The comedy is mostly dry, but in the best kind of way. The subtle lines of dialogue and quirky character moments are priceless, especially everything involving Terry and his javelin. It’s smartly written not just for the time travel elements, but the comedic ones as well.
At its core, The Infinite Man is a love story as well. Dean is in a constant struggle to first give Lana a perfect weekend, then prevent her from leaving him, to finally saving her very existence. Initially it feels like the two act uncharacteristically around one another, making decisions that seem unrealistic of a couple in love. When we find out there’s a reason for all of that it made me appreciate the film even more, knowing that this was something planned from the very beginning.
The Infinite Man is an excellent film not just for the love story or the time travel, or even the comedy. It’s excellent because of how well it meshes these things together to create a wildly entertaining and fun story with only three actors and one location. If only I could travel back so I can see this again for the first time.