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  Counter Clockwise Time Is On My SideBuy this film here.
Year: 2016
Director: George Moïse
Stars: Michael Kopelow, Frank Simms, Kerry Knuppe, Alice Rietveld, Bruno Amato, Devon Ogden, Joy Rinaldi, Aaron Bowden, Cliff Morts, Caleb Brown, Cesar Giraldo, Marty Vites, Brad Bishop, Sharon Ferguson, Chip Bolcik, Samantha Tanner, Michael Villar
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Just a few last minute adjustments and the experiments can begin, as Ethan (Michael Kopelow) and his fellow scientist Ciel (Alice Rietveld) have finally discovered the technique behind teleportation, and mean to demonstrate those findings now. They won't be trying it on themselves, not yet anyway, so they have a little one-eyed dog who will be their test subject; he dutifully sits on the specially constructed pad and as a few relevant keys are pressed, the machine springs briefly into life, and the pooch disappears. However, he does not reappear on the corresponding pad a short way across the lab, leading to much headscratching from Ethan and Ciel - but whatever went wrong is nothing compared to what will go wrong from now on.

Counter Clockwise was yet another time travel movie from the indie market, probably because as far as science fiction went, these were easier to stage when dialogue and editing were cheaper than any special effects to get across the mindbending possibilities of messing about with the temporal flow. This example was assuredly done on the cheap, but director George Moïse was canny enough to use clever lighting to hide his lack of funds, with the sinister shadows emphasising the dire situation the lead character had become embroiled with, much against his will. Not that his will was particularly strong on this evidence as Ethan remained a curiously passive hero, with things happening to him, not the other way around.

Or at least that was the way it appeared, though if you looked back on it you would note that he may have been buffeted around the near future by forces outwith his control, but he did have some agency in trying to manage them, more than it might initially seem. It was simply that as a protagonist, Kopelow (a co-writer on the production with the director and his producer brother) was very far from the traditional hero in a science fiction context, not only in plain looks but also in demeanour, convincing as the sort of person who really would accidentally invent a time machine, but not the person you would necessarily choose to sort out the mess that results from said unintended invention.

This rendered Counter Clockwise offputting for some, but for those with a more open mind as to what science fiction could provide as far as exploring the possibilities it developed, seeing a middle-aged nerd battle the forces of evil which pop up to dog his every move (and move his dog, for that matter) contained a genuine novelty factor, merely because he was a very vulnerable individual which raised the stakes as far as what he could get done was concerned. Not to mention what he could endure, as he is threatened with physical violence (including rape - sexual assault featured in the last act as well) and that threat is intermittently carried out, once even by himself on himself to give you some idea of how twisty the plot grew. Yet while that was the case, it was fairly easy to follow.

That might have been because as we saw more of what was happening the further the story resembled a puzzle with someone else putting the pieces into place to have us understand the bigger picture. What was the film's strongest suit was not so much the performances which leaned on typical indie thriller acting and left it at that, purely in service to the plot, but that problem solving element, a major aspect of scientific investigation and applied here to a shady world of corporate villains and a sense of a power that has got out of hand. It was interesting to see how Ethan's attempts to make the most of a very dire situation - he arrives shortly into the future to find himself wanted for a double murder that he cannot believe he would be capable of - end up with barely anyone he meets offering anything like adequate assistance, as whenever he even asks a stranger to assist in a simple request, they are no help whatsoever. It should have been comical, yet it was actually nightmarish, and contributed to the odd atmosphere of not entirely your ordinary time travel suspense item.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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