Stars: Bodine Boling, Catherine Missal, Brendan Griffin, David Andrew Macdonald, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Haile Owusu, Casey Robinson, Johnny Dapolito | Written and Directed by Alexis Boling
New Yorker Kim is a bit of an oddball. She barely talks to her roommate (and when she does repeats phrases that she says), has zero social life and doesn’t understand texting one bit. So it comes as no surprise to learn that, upon finding a 15-year old vagrant girl in the park with the same mark on her wrist, we discover that she’s really from the future.
Having intended – and failed – to rendezvous with a fellow traveller, Kim seems to have adjusted to 21st-century life reasonably well, but the arrival of her ‘sister’ threatens to blow the lid off the whole thing. That might make Movement + Location sound like it’s got higher stakes or more action than it does, but the film bears closer resemblance to mumblecore cinema than the high-concept mindbenders or blockbuster thrill rides that normally come to mind when one thinks of time travel movies.
This unconventional and refreshing take on the genre results in a thoughtful meditation on modern spaces, communication and all of the wonderful things the developed world takes for granted. Like, say, running water or readily available groceries. In a less subtle film these moments would be overstated and preachy, but Movement + Location doesn’t dwell on them, relying instead on grateful and bemused reactions from its displaced characters to convey the message.
And the message itself is simple as can be: appreciate what you’ve got and strike while the iron’s hot. Most of the characters are so focused on their past (er, future?) regrets that they don’t focus on the present. And if you’re living in New York you damn better focus on the present else you’re liable to get your ass blindsided by a taxi.
The script, like most of the cast, is understated and relishes little moments of shared humanity and crossed wires in equal measure. The pace may be a little slow for some who prefer their sci-fi Bruce Willis-flavoured, but for those who appreciate smaller stories on a big canvas there’s a lot to be enjoyed. I’ll say no more for spoiling what is sure to be one of the more interesting (for the most part – some scenes run a little long even for me, and Kim’s ‘sister’ is often a shade too juvenile to feel like a fully-formed character) time travel flicks of recent years.
Movement + Location was shown at the Sci-Fi London Film Festival last week.