Film Review: The Infinite Man (Australia, 2014)

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As one of four Australian feature films at this year’s SXSW, The Infinite Man also had the pleasure of being one of the festival’s opening night presentations. The low budget film out of South Australia is the debut feature from Adelaide director Hugh Sullivan (watch our interview HERE), and in the spirit of films like Primer, is a time travel adventure with a twist.

Set in the South Australian outback, the low budget film takes place in only two locations, with the majority in an abandoned motel with the our leads, Josh McConville and Hannah Marshall – with Alex Dimitriades popping up throughout the piece and proceeding to steal every scene. Whoever found this location certainly got lucky, as it was integral for the piece to work. Indeed, the set cleverly weaves its way into the narrative, much like a haunted house in a horror film. What’s behind that door? Or more importantly, WHO? Don’t mistake my comparison though – this is far from a horror film. It’s definitely a comedy. But the terrain certainly creates an air of suspense.

The film plays with the concept: how does one recreate the perfect day? Or, at least, what they consider to be the perfect day. What if they built a machine that could transport one’s self back into that moment. What if, in continuing to utlise this machine, they accidentally got themselves stuck in an infinite loop? I don’t want to say anything more about the narrative than this, because the fun of this film is in watching Sullivan, who also wrote the film, toy with the audience, reliving scenes that weren’t as you once thought.

The script was essential in making this work, and it’s employed brilliantly. Every aspect of this time-travelling saga has been gone over with a finely tuned comb, and with each twist during the film’s 84 minute duration, you find yourself itching to find out what happens next, as the whole story gets more ridiculous, more hilarious and more intriguing.

The editing (yep, that was Sullivan too) has to be given some applause here, too, because with every twist of the camera and every change of an angle, the infinite loop is able to reveal itself, and in doing so, the camera becomes as much a part of the story as the building, as the characters and the crudely built time machine.

The film will render comparisons to the cult classic Primer, and they’re not unwarranted; fans of the Shane Carruth helmed low-budget film will feel very at home here. But this is a very different film… not to mention far more straight forward, and should hopefully find itself a large audience.

In many respects, The Infinite Man is a low budget masterpiece. A prime example of a clever, high concept film, that was able to fit the constraints of its budget and deliver an intelligent, terrifically entertaining and ingeniously orchestrated narrative. It’s destined to be a cult classic. Here’s hoping it gets itself the audience it rightly deserves.

Review Score: FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

The Infinite Man was reviewed at SXSW Film Festival last month. It is set for an Australian release on September 18 2014