Tuesday, October 24, 2006

[1980] SOMEWHERE IN TIME: Yeah--if you couldn't forgive Il Mare or even Kate & Leopold their inconsistencies or their unabashed sentiment this is not the movie for you. If you don't like the twist ending style of science fiction (this is written by Richard Matheson) this is also not the movie for you. But if you can be swayed by atmosphere, and by earnest performances, and the creation of a simple yet perfectly constructed self-enclosed world--this is the movie for you. Like Bad Timing (this would be a fabulous double feature with that) it's the tale of a doomed romance. But it's science fiction! Where ideas become literal, physical things. So the characters do not conspire against themselves--the universe conspires against them. It's very much of the type of interesting "idea" science fiction (as opposed to, you know, stuff with flying saucers) you occasionally find in Analog or F&SF, or at least I did when I read those kind of things. The director is a journeyman type who did Jaws 2 and is in tv now--Jeannot Szwarc--but the choices he made were all the right ones. Mainly the decision to be restrained--I think he moves the camera at the same speed throughout the film, except for the one time he doesn't--and that's during the twist ending! When you would say "oh, crap" to yourself at the end of the Matheson or the Bradbury or whoever. And he creates mood with the repetition of the Rachmaninoff Rhapsody, and it's a great pick--a popular piece of classical for this classic of the popular cinema. (The interior of the hotel is blood red, just like that scene in The Shining--explain that, cinephiles!) One of those commerical movies where everything just came together right--and like Blade Runner, another film in that category, a classic of mood, but with an unambiguous plot. It's also a classic of science fiction; the heartbreak of Reeve and Seymour (and they're both perfect, though Reeve goes a little too Clark Kent at times) is impossible without the time travel. I don't know if it'll hold up to repeat viewings, though--always the problem with "twist ending" SF. But recommended for the science fiction heads and anyone who can swim in an ocean of sentiment.

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