Time Travel Rom Com Delivers Brains, Heart And Humour. Sullivan Is One To Watch.
Writer/director Hugh Sullivan’s debut feature and SXSW/MIFF hit The Infinite Man delivers another dose of Australian-made travelling in time and space shenanigans, hot on the heels of the Ethan Hawke/Sarah Snook double-hander Predestination.
Shot on location in South Australia, whereas the Spierig brothers’ surreal slice of time-hopping had a fairly sizable budget and was technically set in New York, with Melbourne handily standing in, Sullivan’s film is firmly set down under and wings it on a micro-budget, while still managing to look impressively slick, thanks to the lush cinematography of Marden Dean (Fell).
The Infinite Man boasts a great deal of heart, snappy brains and a boot-load full of quirky humour too, knocking Richard Curtis’ similarly themed rom com About Time outta the multiverse.
Essentially a two-hander, Josh McConville stars as Dean, the amiably handsome but decidedly bumbling and more than a little desperate boyfriend of Packed to the Rafters star Hannah Marshall’s utterly unimpressed, and by fairly so, Lana. She’s had just about enough of his haphazard attempts at romance, so when the dag drags her to the first spot they ever took a holiday together for their anniversary and the motel turns out to be abandoned and somewhat run down, she decides to dump him.
Now for the whacky plot twist. It turns out Dean has invented a time travel device that looks suspiciously like a rugby head protector with thread spindles stuck all over it. In an effort to save their failing relationship, he decides to jump backwards and fiddle with the timeline so she stands with her man instead. Unfortunately for him, Sullivan’s sharp script doles up a procession of a superbly realised paradoxes and results in a fair few rogue alternate versions of both Lana and Dean, each with different ideas on how this scenario should play out. Dean’s half-arsed ploy soon descends into a chaos of crossed-timelines. And then Alex Dimitriades turns up as Lana’s boofhead ex to thoroughly muck thing sup. Well, muck them up more.
Marshall is absolutely fantastic and bounces off McConville perfectly. There’s a believable chemistry between the pair that genuinely soars, even as the strains show, and Dimitriades is clearly having a lot of fun too. A joy to watch from start to finish, even if you will be scratching your head at several points, I’m sure this will just get richer with every repeat viewing. It’s such a treat, I’ll be back again and again, time machine or not.
Stephen A Russell