Genre: Sci-Fi
Director: Glenn Triggs
Release Year: 2012
Runtime: 1h 20min

I continue to go down this hole. This multiverse, time-travel hole. And I blame the algorithm. You watch one sci-fi adjacent thing and you end up getting suggested movies like 41. Which, frankly, I thought was a movie about Jackie Robinson. But, apparently, that’s called 42. I can’t say I’m a fan of numbers-only-based titles like these. Especially when there’s no real significance to the number other than it’s the number on the hotel room in which this time-travel wormhole exists. At least with 42, that’s Robinson’s uniform number. Or like the movie 10 refers to a scale of one to ten that everyone who has ever rated another human being understands. Which isn’t forgiving that practice, of course, but is giving it context.

Seemingly random title aside, the film itself clearly was trying something high-concept and relatively ambitious. It’s clear they watched the movie Primer, but decided that all the math and science stuff was for suckers. So they stripped all of that away and just kind of kept the core time-travel spine. Ostensibly a love story, our protagonist, Aidan, uses a hole in an Australian motel room floor to travel back in time twelve hours with each entry. Yes, literally a hole in a motel room floor. No time machine, no mystical time portal put there by an ancient civilization or alien culture. Nope, just an empty space in a crumby motel under a flap of cheap linoleum that definitely seems like it would be discovered by just about anyone sitting on the toilet in that room. But somehow isn’t. Because this film doesn’t bother with details like that. It’s super low-budget, and at times you feel every dollar not spent on it.

Going back to the concept, it feels like a couple students got into a dorm room and decided they wanted to make a time-travel movie. Then they did a little research, figured out they were going to settle on a certain theory and only then figured out the skin to put on it. And, yes, there’s nothing wrong with the theory here — basically every time the dude, Aidan, goes into the floor he appears in a new timeline twelve hours in the past. Not the same timeline he left from, but a brand new one. So if he’s in timeline/universe one and enters the hole, he can’t affect that same timeline/universe because he pops out in timeline/universe two. So his girlfriend he’s trying to save in timeline/universe one is unsavable. But his girlfriend in timeline/universe two could theoretically be saved if he prevents her death in timeline/universe two having gone back before her time of death. Timeline/universe one girlfriend will always die. As timeline/universe one Aidan continually jumps in the hole to travel from timeline/universe to timeline/universe to try to change future of a continuously alt version of his girlfriend. But that’s truly it. We don’t get much else other than this mechanic. The plot is the mechanism of the time travel. But, of course, at this point we’ve seen enough time-travel movies that we need something unique and surprising to build out the flesh of the narrative. It would be like making a war movie and us just getting a bunch of dudes running around a jungle shooting each other. Sure, it’s a war movie, but what is it I’m supposed to care about?

Ultimately this isn’t a bad movie. It’s just one that was missing something. Heart? Soul? Something that could have been fleshed out with a million bucks? Honestly, I’m not certain, as we’ll never get that version of the movie. And what we have feels like it’s missing something. A reason for being beyond what someone thought was a fun concept — and what someone thought they could pull off on a minuscule budget. So, yeah, it was fine for what it was. I suppose if you’re really into that DIY aesthetic, don’t mind some of the seams showing in your films and are a true everything-for-the-multiverse person, it could be worth 80 minutes of your time on a bus or plane. And may honestly be better on a smaller screen anyway.