by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday February 10, 2015


The Spierig brothers are back. Peter and Michael, identical twins who started off making low-budget horror flicks, cracked into the American market with their sci-fi vampire flick "Daybreakers." Now they've adapted a twisty, topsy-turvy time-travel story by Robert Heinlein into a big-screen romp starring their "Daybreakers" headliner, Ethan Hawke.

Hawke plays a "temporal agent" trying to locate and stop a terrorist dubbed the "fizzle bomber" before the next (last?) attack can take place. The problem is, the fizzle bomber seems to know the temporal agents are after him, because he keeps changing the dates of his detonations and foiling attempts to stop him. Meantime, Hawke works to recruit a disillusioned young man into his line of work, after hearing the man's unusual story about a beautiful, brilliant young woman whose dreams of travel to the stars have been stymied by a strange stroke of fortune... and maybe also by sinister forces. Both the young man and the young woman are played by Sarah Snook, for reasons best not to disclose in a review.

The film is, we hear in one of the many special features on the Blu-ray disc, about half a dozen films in one: Noir, thriller, sci-fi actioner, two-hander drama, existential puzzlebox. That's ambitious, but also a downside; there's a lot to love about the film's parts, but they never quite gel into a complete whole, congealing instead into an array of half-formed notions and conceits. The payoff, unlike the shadowy terrorist's explosive devices, fizzles. The film's stylistic trappings, however, are entrancing, which makes this an excellent film by which to switch off any and all logical thought processes and just go with it.

The Blu-ray release offers a slew of extras, including "A Journey Through Time," a ten-part, hour-plus featurette that delves deeply into the movie's roots, its production, and its creative team; each of the six weeks of filming gets its own chapter, as do the pre-production and post-production processes, the casting, and the visual effects. A shorter freaturette, "All You Zombies," offers a thumbnail sketch on some of the same territory, and is named for the Heinlein short story that the Spierigs have expanded upon. There's also a blooper reel.

Is this essential to the cinephile's pile? No. But is it fun? Yes! Buy or rent accordingly.





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Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.