Featuring: Josh McConville, Hannah Marshall, Alex Dimitriades
Screenwriter/Director: Hugh Sullivan
Australian release date: Thursday 18 September
Verdict: Peel-back-the-endless-onion scifi rom-com that becomes tedious, then infuriating.
The Infinite Man unashamedly celebrates its low-budgetness: there are only three characters and the sets are confined to an abandoned derelict motel in the middle of a dusty Aussie nowhere and, occasionally, a beach somewhere within drivable distance. The drab setting contributes an intriguing atmosphere of weirdness initially, but ultimately little else. Unfortunately, the characters are pretty drab as well (although lifted by competent performances) – which leaves the narrative to do the heavy lifting.
As a story, it’s a hybrid creature, part sci-fi, part rom-com, stranded in a no-mans land twixt spoof and ostentatiously ingenious time-travel cleverbuggery. Fastidiously controlling perfectionist Dean (Josh McConville) is disappointed that his planned anniversary celebration with his girlfriend (Hannah Marshall) is ruined when her obsessive stalker ex-boyfriend (Alex Demiatriades) rolls up. He invents a time-travel device so he can change the way things worked out, confronting multiple versions of himself and the other two characters as he juggles altered versions of events in different time frames in quest of creating the perfect anniversary.
Poor old mess-up Dean ends up trapping his girlfriend – and the hapless viewer – in a time loop, then has to figure out how to get her out…which means he has to get in. Except whenever he seems to have sorted out the time tangle, it turns out he hasn’t, and just when you think he’s out of the loop and the story is close to resolution, it turns out it isn’t. How many rides on the merry-go-round, how many broken promises of an ending can one story stand before it becomes unbearably tedious and frustrating? A lot less than are delivered here, unfortunately. The Groundhog Day stuff is flogged to death by about the half-way point, and it’s a long, monotonous ride to the finish line from there.
Low-budget flicks like this succeed or fail on imaginative input, resourcefulness and ideas rather than expensive SFX and box-office-drawing stars. The triumphs are worth the wait, but when the material falls short, as in this case, well…
This sector of the industry is vitally important as a nurturing ground for new talent and fresh modes of expression unfettered by formulaic market-driven agendas. Arthouse/indie has long been my preferred territory as a film enthusiast. So I really wanted to like The Infinite Man, to support it, to pass on glad tidings as a reviewer. Can’t do. This could have worked brilliantly as a long short, but just doesn’t make the stretch to feature length.
I confess, I woulda walked out, but the end seemed imminent long before the credits finally rolled, and I was hangin’ in hoping for a miracle rescue. Alas, in vain. It was a bloody long hour. I don’t think I’ve seen a more infuriating flick.
For other Boomtown Rap movie reviews, see Movie Review Archives
5 thoughts on “The Infinite Man movie review”
A very narrow minded review. You obviously have no heart or no romantic sense. One of the best Australian films of all time. Obviously well beyond anything that YOU could write and I think that has generally disappointed and frustrated you. Good luck in your writing aspirations but I think you have absolutely no chance of reaching Hugh Sullivans great script. Sorry buddy boy. You are an amateur. And a bad writer! You have no chance…
Oh yeah haha! If only this review guy knew how to write!! Quit writing all together man because you obviously have no idea. Go back to pre-school! I loved the Infinite Man!! Very thoughtful film.
Hey JohnJohn, I note the local part of your email address is ‘sullivanned’. Not family of writer/director Hugh, by any chance? Lo and behold, 30 seconds of googling, and I found your Facebook page. So, Hugh’s bro, huh?
A couple of things I need to point out. Firstly, you lose all credibility when you attack a reviewer personally. Fine if you think my reviewing stinks, but you’re also slagging off my ‘creative’ writing, which you know absolutely nothing about. Whenever, if ever, I do write a feature movie screenplay and it is produced, then you are free to assess it, as I am doing with The Infinite Man here. I doubt you will have that opportunity, because very few screenplays actually make it to the big screen.
It is a credit to Hugh Sullivan that he has gotten his film up. As far as I am concerned, that is a measure of success in itself. I have some idea what it takes, and I greatly admire and respect anyone who has the guts, persistence, work ethic, talent and self-belief to push their project to that ultimate destination.
However, once a product is released to the public, it becomes public property in a sense. The public determines the success of a film, commercial or otherwise. Reviewers are merely a small part of this public, and ideally, if competent and honest, function as a type of filtration system for the would-be viewer (although many – probably the vast majority – don’t give a toss about reviewers, and that’s their prerogative). Whatever, the reviewer has some influence on some people some of the time, and thus has a responsibility to be fair and as objective as possible in their assessments. Whatever you think of my writing, I take this responsibility extremely seriously.
When I review a film, I try hard for balance, and I always take care to provide reasons and evidence to support my assessments. But in the end, I have to be honest. What is the value of the critic if they bullshit? In this case, I could only give my honest assessment. As mentioned in the review, I would far rather support low-budget films than diss them. But in this case, my response as a viewer was not positive. That’s not to say others will feel the same way. But I’m not others, I’m just one voice among many reviewers, striving to do my best in assessing the movies I review. If I’ve put your nose out of joint through not sharing your view of this movie, that comes with the territory of the reviewer.
I thank you for your comment. I welcome challenges to my views. In your case, though, you haven’t given me anything of substance to wrestle with in terms of the film itself. Not much I can do about personal insult except pity the perpetrator for their lack of discipline. Then again, I might react as you have if, like you, I had close family ties to the film’s creator.
I sincerely wish Hugh all the best with his future endeavours in film. I think he does have talent, and look forward to seeing it realised, and to responding with a glowing review. I mean it.
Thanks for your reply. You do make some good points. I guess I just became a little angry. It’s great to discuss films and I understand that everyone has a different point of view. I do really appreciate your reply though and as I said you make some good points.
Everyone can lose their rag, JohnJohn, and I hold loyalty dear. If you’re gonna get personal with a reviewer, no better reason than being offended on behalf of your brother. Completely understand.
Thanks for your gracious follow-up. That takes guts. My regards and respect to Hugh, too – as I said, anyone who gets a screenplay up has already achieved major success. By comparison, reviewers who don’t like the flick are barely a blip on the radar. I noted Margaret and David were far more impressed than I – somehow, I think their influence is a tad more far-reaching than mine!