Counter Clockwise (2016) a film review by Mark R. Leeper.

December 17, 2016 | By | Reply More

This is a very low budget dark comedy and Science Fiction film with some good writing and a keen sense of irony. It has just basic production values to call attention to itself. The film is directed by George Moise from a script he co-authored with Michael Kopelow, who plays the main character. Some of the material is inappropriate for younger viewers. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10.

One sub-genre of the Science Fiction film is the time travel story and one sub-genre of the time travel story is the time paradox story, in which people move backward and forward in time meeting later and earlier versions of themselves and making a farce of causality. These stories can be as complex and complicated as Raymond Chandler plots and some films combine the two to be an extra challenge for the viewer. Some better examples worth noting are ‘Primer’ (2004), ‘Timecrimes’ (2008), and ‘Predestination’ (2014). They ask not just ‘who done it?’ but also ‘what version of person X did it’. A new time travel and time crime film is ‘Counter Clockwise’.

Ethan Walker is working on a matter transmitter alá ‘The Fly’ (1958). When it transmits, the scene seems almost a reproduction of the similar scene in ‘The Fly’ (1958). When he try sending a pet, a sweet, one-eyed dog, he loses the pet in space. Ethan tries transmitting himself, but no, his atoms do not get mixed with the dog but they do not get transmitted to a receiving device neither. He just finds himself sent a few months into the future. However, Ethan finds out that while he was time-travelling, his wife and sister were murdered and because he has disappeared he is now the prime suspect that the police have been searching for. So far the story has done nothing that could not have been explained by having Ethan have amnesia and unsure what happened while he had disappeared. In addition, the world seems to have become divided between two rival factions, Rakubian Industries and Syndicate Red. Ethan readies his broken matter transmitter and sends himself back in time to stop the crime and, of course, lines of time just naturally tangle like old telephone cords. To clear his name Ethan, has to prevent the crime.

I cannot say a whole lot is notable in this film. The camerawork is not particularly polished. The acting is not particularly subtle or evocative but the dialog is certainly amusing and the actors are as professional as needed for a few off-the-wall characters, particularly a rather strange but magnetic villain. Nor is most of the writing of the quality we would expect from a theatrical feature film. A big part of the audience for this film will be looking at the time paradoxes and trying to work out warped timelines. For the Science Fiction aspect the film does all right. It is not as complex as the plot of ‘Timecrimes’ or ‘Primer’, but it does keep the viewer invested. The film has only the most minimal special effects. There is a split-screen or two, but that was all I noticed. However, with sufficient writing skill the film does not need complex special effects and this film is fun. I rate it a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

Mark R. Leeper

(c) Mark R. Leeper 2016.

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Category: Films, MEDIA, Scifi

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