INFINITE MAN, THE
Dean (Josh McConville) is an inventive yet unorthodox young scientist who uses his technical expertise to create grand romantic gestures for his girlfriend Lana (Hannah Marshall). After an anniversary weekend goes terribly wrong, Dean is spurred to his greatest scientific achievement yet: a time travel gizmo. However, what begins as a simple desire to change the past and create the perfect weekend soon leads to a tightening spiral of multiple Deans, each one in competition with the next. And the arrival of Lana's ex, Terry (Alex Dimitriades). Romantic reconciliation is further complicated when Dean loses Lana in a recurring temporal loop.
Review by Louise Keller:
The Infinite Man's strength is also its weakness, this audacious comedy with elements from Multiplicity and Groundhog Day. Hugh Sullivan's debut film begins with an interesting premise - the mad scientist becomes tripped up by his own temporal experiment - but gets undone by that very same confusing premise. However, I like the quirkiness of the film and the commitment that Sullivan has made to his characters, pushing the boundaries to outlandish limits; for me, the black comedy elements work best.
The plot is simple - or complex - depending how you want to look at it. Two men and one woman. And yes, it's complicated. Everything is predicated on the personality of the film's lead character Dean (Josh McConville) and Sullivan establishes him immediately. Dean is crazy. Crazy in love with Lana (Hannah Marshall) and will go to extreme lengths to orchestrate happiness. The gradual reveal of Dean's formula for the pursuit of the perfect weekend is the best part of the film. The scientific invention that looks like a cap covered with multi-coloured hair rollers is the tool to make the imperfect perfect. Well that's the idea.
I laughed at the blueprint Dean carries in his pocket, detailing the precise planned programme of events for the anniversary weekend. The fact that it is a carbon copy of their anniversary a year earlier is telling. There are clogs, dolmades, champagne, massage and tantric sex techniques. Things liven up when Alex Dimitriades arrives at the remote, deserted motel complex in the middle of nowhere with his javelin, box of condoms and a cattle prod. The incongruity of all the elements keep us engaged and Dimitriades is terrific as Terry, a 'swords and sandal' lover compared to Dean's ordered 'Germanic metronome' variety.
McConville, sporting a perpetual frown and mask of angst and eccentricities glues the film together, while Marshall plays it straight as she portrays an attractive innocence. Then different versions of each of the three characters make their appearance from different timeframes, start talking to each other and ...
It's fun for a while but gets a bit repetitive and confusing. The fact that the sameness reverberates within the confines of the relationships without progression or external factors works against it. (In Groundhog Day for example, as Bill Murray tries different methods to impress Andie MacDowell, we can feel the forward momentum.) When Lana says: 'You've lost me; I have no idea what's going on,' it reflected exactly what I was thinking.
The Infinite Man however, is a film to watch out for and there is fun to be had. Commendably, Sullivan shows is he creatively fearless which augurs well for his future projects.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
There is a charming homeliness about Dean (Josh McConville) which plays a big part in creating the right mood of home made sci-fi and everyman romantic humour in Hugh Sullivan's virtuoso micro-budget film with the impressive title of The Infinite Man. You can tell Sullivan has a sense of irony, too, from the opening cue, which self confidently heralds the arrival of a 'big' movie, only to be underwhelmed by its minimalism.
All three leads (and there are no support roles) deliver immaculate performances, from McConville's hapless romantic to Hannah Marshall's long suffering Lana and Alex Dimitriades' fiery javelin throwing alpha male standing as the contrast to Dean's sweet natured softie.
The isolated setting of the anniversary weekend where the lovers escape for a (doomed) romantic celebration in a dusty, deserted outback location at an abandoned motel adds a suitable sense of eerie surreality, with endless horizons and an empty beach as visual options.
The screenplay is a clever riff on the notion of time travel as a way of improving the past, and some will see an echo of Groundhog Day, the iconic film that goes the whole hog on that theme (pardon the pun). But The Infinite Man is grounded by a larger scale of tragedy - the tragedy of Dean's sincere but ill-fated love. The film avoids throwing us into depression waters, however, and teases us with its playfulness, without losing the sincerity. Nice work.
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INFINITE MAN, THE (MA15+)
CAST: Josh McConville, Hannah Marshall, Alex Dimitriades
PRODUCER: Sandy Cameron, Kate Croser
DIRECTOR: Hugh Sullivan
SCRIPT: Hugh Sullivan
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Marden Dean
MUSIC: ZoŽ Barry, Jed Palmer
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Obie O'Brien
RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Infinite Releasing
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 18, 2014