We all strive for those perfect moments in our lives (especially in romantic relationships), but what lengths would you go to achieve that perfection? In The Infinite Man, a man learns the consequences of trying to achieve the impossible… over and over again.
Josh McConville (who looks like a young Martin Freeman) portrays Dean, a brilliant inventor who is a control freak and frustrated that he cannot achieve scientific perfection in his relationship with Lana (Hannah Marshall). After his attempt to re-do their anniversary exactly like they did last year goes awry, he presents Lana with an anniversary gift: a contraption (which looks like a cross between Napoleon Dynamite’s “time machine” and Doc Brown’s mind-reading helmet) that will allow them to freeze a moment in time forever. However, before they can use it Lana’s ex-boyfriend Terry (Alex Dimitriades) shows up and, after a brief scuffle, manages to get between Dean and Lana. Depressed and heartbroken, Dean spends the next year alone developing his contraption and unlocks the science of time travel, and on what would be their next anniversary Lana arrives and Dean uses his device to send them back a year, where he can change where everything went wrong.
However, Dean soon discovers that time travel is more complicated than he expected — actually, he learns that from future versions of himself, who decide to travel back to the same time period to win back Lana for themselves in the most perfect reality possible. Soon there are multiple Deans fighting with their multiple selves over Lana with various attempts to outwit his future selves. He (they?) becomes increasingly unhinged with jealousy over Lana’s relationship with, well, other versions of himself. The Infinite Man ends up becoming a kind of chronological cat-and-mouse game between different versions of Dean. McConville shines in his different iterations of Dean and manages to infuse each with a different aspect of his personality.
The time travel premise allows us to view parts of the narrative from various perspectives, which is unique. This adds a lot of narrative twists to a film that is essentially a “closed door” narrative (there is only one location) with three characters. Of course, there are a lot more than three characters when the time traveling kicks in, but Dean, Lana, and Terry are the only characters.
However, the time travel premise runs thin after a while — particularly when we have multiple Deans repeating the same lines of dialogue to highlight how twisted and confused it is — so The Infinite Man might have worked better overall as a short than a feature because it gets repetitive, even for a time travel film. In fact, writer/director Hugh Sullivan gained notoriety for creating four creative shorts. There’s a great short film here (or, if it were the 1990s, an award-winning music video), and even at 80 minutes the story is still a bit too thin for a feature.
Nonetheless, there are some very funny moments in The Infinite Man. It’s not funny in the laugh-out-loud way of most crowd-pleasing comedies. Instead it has moments of wit and dry humor. It’s also a study in desperation and the inability to let go — after all, it’s ironic that Dean is aghast at Terry being unable to get over Lana when Dean attempts to bend the laws of space and time in order to get back with her. There’s a lesson there that a lot of brokenhearted people can learn about letting go and accepting life as it comes, so that might make it worth a watch for you.
Rating: A clever concept about trying to achieve the impossibility of perfection, though could’ve used more story to make it a stronger feature (5.5/10).