Other Worlds Austin: Bon Voyeurage
Bradley King peeps into his film Time Lapse
By Adrienne Whitehorse,
3:50PM, Tue. Dec. 9, 2014
"I'm a total voyeur," Bradley King states matter-of-factly to audiences at last weekend's inaugural Other Worlds Austin sci-fi film festival. Time Lapse has just screened, and the writer/director indulges our questions. "Not in the kinky sense …." [Laughter.] "All right, in the kinky sense."
In this sci-fi-tinged thriller, Callie (Danielle Panabaker) and Finn (Matt O'Leary) discover that their reclusive neighbor, prior to his mysterious death, had taken photos of the couple's living room from across the courtyard. Even more unsettling is that the images he's captured haven't yet occurred. The massive machine found in the retired scientist's apartment snaps a Polaroid of its subject as it will look 24 hours later. Third roommate, insatiable gambler Jasper (George Finn), convinces his morally – and financially – struggling friends to use the camera to place unfailing bets at the dog track (and ignore the dead body in the basement). But after a blissful few days, the camera begins developing ominous images. Relationships are put to the test, and our characters' dark sides come into sharper focus.
"Originally, it was going to be a lot more like Rear Window," the director muses. King and co-writer BP Cooper's story ends up less a murder-mystery and more a study of the far-reaching effects of greed, lust, envy, and fear on the human psyche. "The Hitchcockian themes might have stayed, but plot-wise we went somewhere else."
The film's pacing keeps audiences engaged until the beautifully unnerving closing shot. King regrettably admits to cutting every flashback scene featuring the scientist, played by John Rhys-Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lord of the Rings) – of whom King is a huge fan. During post-production it became evident those scenes "were slowing the film down when it really should have been speeding up." The director's keen editorial instincts keep us fixated on the screen in suspense. The Master himself would approve.