Counter Clockwise, 2016.
Directed by George Moise.
Starring Michael Kopelow, Devon Ogden, Kerry Knuppe, Joy Rinaldi, Caleb Brown, Alice Rietveld and Frank Simms.
Counter Clockwise delivers a thriller about a befuddled scientist who stumbles into inventing a time machine and recklessly zaps himself six months into the future. But in that future, he is a wanted man and accused murderer. He tries to return to the point right before everything went wrong.
We all know the unfortunate by-product of time travel. You go forwards, you go backwards, you try and change things, but when you end up back where you started everything has gone to hell in a hand cart. Frankly it never actually seemed like the best way to pass the time, excuse the pun, and to be fair in the case of Counter Clockwise things don’t exactly go to plan either, but the brains behind the film, George Moïse and Michael Kopelow, sure seem to have had fun in the process.
Through the tried and tested engine of low budget film-making, producer/director Moïse and producer/writer/leading man Kopelow have crafted an inventive, demented, enjoyable blast of a movie. Even the sci-fi design elements that are driven by monetary restriction serve to flavour the proceedings with an attractive line in future retro, from the computer graphics, to the machine itself.
Note the lack of the word ‘time-machine’ here, because in this story not only are there accidental consequences to all the time jumping, but time travel was never supposed to be on the menu in the first place. Kopelow as the satisfyingly schlubby scientist Ethan Walker, is actually trying to crack teleportation with his colleague Ceil (Alice Rietveld), but one merged wires scenario later and teleportation turns into a head kicking ride into the space time continuum. Now admittedly some merged wires may be a simplistic explanation, but then again I’ve never built a teleporter or a time machine so who knows.
Walker first gets an inkling that things aren’t quite what they seem when the first test subject, a one-eyed dog named Charlie, leaves teleport pad number one and doesn’t re-appear until 5 hours later. Thinking that it’s just a wrinkle in molecular transportation Walker decides to become test subject number two. He really should have checked those wires.
Reappearing back in his lab it quickly becomes apparent that things ain’t what they used to be, and that his little trip has lasted a few months more than a few hours. Not only have corporate interests taken over his project, but Walker is also a wanted man, and for the murder of his wife and sister no less.
Pursued by a cabal of cops and twisted, vicious goons, he realises he is way out of his depth when it comes to fixing his life in situ, so he does what anyone else in that situation would do. Try for the re-boot. The problem is, once you start re-booting time and its consequences how do you stop.
Moïse and Kopelow don’t actually answer that question, they’re far smarter than that. Like their unconventional leading man, the standards of time travel, action-adventure heroics and neat deus ex machinas don’t apply. Once you start messing with the time line in their universe all you can do is keep it, and yourself, running.
Counter Clockwise is not a perfect film, both in performances and a couple of questionable, and morality twisting, sub-Lynchian set-ups, but at a jam packed and crackpot 90 minutes it’s worth watching, and using up some of your own linear lifetime.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★