Monday, October 24, 2005

Slipstream (2005)

A Film Review

Copyright Dragan Antulov 2005

It is becoming difficult to find anything new and refreshing in films about time travel. SLIPSTREAM, 2005 science fiction film directed by Peter van Eyssen, initially gives impression of being such rare find. Narration by film's protagonist Stuart Conway (played by Sean Astin) tries to explain the concept and its practical applications. Conway, a quiet, mild-mannered and nerdish physicist employed in government's top secret laboratory, has invented and constructed miniature time travel device. The device allows him to go back ten minutes in time and he goes to bank in order to puts it to best possible use by making repeated cash withdrawals and discovering the best ways to seduce beautiful bank teller. Little does he know that he is being watched by Sarah Tanner (played by Ivana Milicevic) and Jake Hallman (played by Kevin Otto) - two FBI agents assigned to follow him as part of routine security clearance. He, as well as the agents, are surprised when the bank gets robbed by a gang led by volatile Briggs (played by Vinnie Jones). Chaos ensues, shots are fired, people get killed and Conway has to use his device in order to prevent situation from becoming even more catastrophic.

At first, it looks like the unconventional, nerdish protagonist and equally unconventional use of time travel device would result in unconventional film and that a scientific idea won't be abused as a cheap gimmick for uninspired action film. But such hopes disappear soon after the plot moves to a bank, where the predictable heist is followed by predictable shootout. By the film's end the audience will have opportunity to watch spectacular road crash, hostage crisis and passenger jet crashing into mountain. Van Eyssen directs those scenes with great skill, although at times he succumbs to the desire towards MTV-style "coolness", which doesn't work well, especially when accompanied by often irritating musical score. With Ivana Milicevic miscast as tough federal agent and Vinnie Jones typecast as psychopathic gangster, it is Astin that keeps film bearable for the audience. Shot in South Africa with relatively small budget, SLIPSTREAM had potential to become something more than combination of poor man's MATRIX and GROUNDHOG DAY.

RATING: 4/10 (+)


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