Opening today at the Carlton theatre here in Toronto is this slow-burn of a sci-fi drama from writer-director Sadrac Gonzalez-Perellon.
Set in the not so faraway future, the story follows a young girl, Alice (Lowena McDonell) who lives in a remote house in the forest with he father, Adam (Julian Nicholson) and a dog she refers to her as her mom. The family suffers from a tragedy in its past, something that hangs over them and haunts them.
Things take an odd turn when Alice comes across a large black cube in the forest, which issues a warning to her. A warning not to trust them.
Them ends up being a pair of strangers Adam comes across, a young woman, Erika (Haydee Lysander) and her mute brother, Paul (Marc Puiggener) who claim to be on the run from her boyfriend, David (Will Hudson).
Inviting them into their home unlocks a chain of events that lead to disaster for Alice and her father.
But the cube offers not only advice, but the chance to change events. But will it work? And how many times has it happened?
The film has an interesting premise, and I always tend to enjoy time travel movies.
Gonzalez-Perellon uses a coldly objective form of storytelling to keep the watcher as a viewer as opposed to an emotionally engaged participant. Long camera shots from a distance let’s us see everything, but also keep us at a remove. Outside of time if you will.
The twists and reveals when they come play nicely, and the casting choices are solid. The movie itself, as mentioned, is a slow-burn, so it will not hold everyone’s attention, but I found it to be an interesting experiment in sci-fi.
There are things that jarred me, Alice’s choice in clothes for instance, but I realised halfway through it that she keeps wearing men’s shirts, probably her father’s, because despite what she says to him, she does love him.
For a science fiction movie, there is little in the way of special effects, instead it just comes across as a small, thoughtful film.
The concepts at work in the film are familiar to most science fiction viewers but it’s interesting to see how Gonzalez-Perellon uses them to tell her story. Like most science fiction tales you have to be willing to take a few things on faith, and watch as they are explained or unfolded before you.
The relationship between Alice and Adam is strained, and though we don’t have all the explanations, we can understand it. The arrival of the strangers and what they do to this small family shapes everything that came after it, and thanks to time travel, before it as well.
This is not a big flash bang time travel story, this is an introspective story on events that shape us, and the wish fulfilment of time travel films to change them. No matter how many times it takes.
Black Hollow Cage opens today.