January 14th 2015 03:50
Hugh Sullivanís feature film debut is the antithesis of the average Hollywood by-product Ė those bloated behemoths squandering mega-budgets on lame stories Ďconstructedí with a paucity of often offensively dim-witted ideas.The Infinite Man (2014) succeeds on an intimate scale: a single location, a trio of actors and yet full of ingenuity, ideas and heart.
Sci-fi without the aid of special effects is difficult to pull off Ė and almost impossible without an intriguing narrative foundation on which to build, manoeuvre and expand.The Infinite Man stretches its paltry resources to the limit, creating an entertaining overlapping tale of a man, Dean (Josh McConville), determined to re-create and recast as perfect a meaningful weekend for he and his partner Lana (Hannah Marshall) as they struggle through a tough patch. Nothing like the flicker of nostalgia to stoke an old flame. However Deanís plan is stymied when the couple return to the motel of a previous trip and find it dusty, desolate and abandoned to the elements.
Dean isnít completely put off and using his prowess as an inventor, begins to implement his latest work by travelling through time to start all over again. Soon, the circuitous loop he invents begins to create mayhem as further corrections bring him face to face with parallel versions of himself, Lana and another of Lanaís suitors, the cocksure Terry (Alex Dimitriadis). As various strands overlap, the resolute Dean remains determined to work around the glitches and set himself and his beloved back on the path to romantic bliss. The idealised vision he clings to as a blueprint for success for he and Lana is endearingly wrought. All credit must go to both Sullivan for the deceptive complexity of his narrative and McConville who forces us to empathise and root for the hapless Dean who initially seems annoyingly anal.
With a retro console, a few buttons and funny looking headgear Sullivan has the most fundamental tools with which to kick-start his sci-fi premise. Itís a case of the sheer genius of simplicity working to maximum effect, restricted budget be damned. The cannily chosen locale, the abandoned structure in the middle of nowhere in South Australia, is a another great asset for the production. For all his clever convolutions Sullivan never forgets to lace his twisty narrative with humour; much of which successfully blends with the drama thanks to Deanís earnestness and bouts of petulant anger as well as the work of Dimitriades who is clearly in his element even in a support role.
The Infinite Man is released on DVD by Madman on Friday, January 16.