Time travel films and TV tend to involve the use of some elaborate and often clunky mechanical device or other to transport their heroes backwards and forwards in time. It could be a Delorean car, an old fashioned British Police Box or an American-style phone booth, or an ornate metal-framed sedan chair with a nice comfy seat and a big brass control knob. Curvature’s Helen (Fonseca) has nothing as elaborate; she just goes to sleep and wakes up a few days later and discovers that a strange ‘other’ who sends her mysterious messages is actually herself sending her on a mysterious mission to avoid murdering someone... or something.
We say “or something” because Curvature doesn’t make it easy for the audience to keep up with wherever it’s going. But it’s an interesting premise that kicks off with Helen mourning the death of her husband (who took his own life) whose ex-partner Tomas (Morshower, a solid supporting player in several seasons of 24) appears sympathetic and asks for her permission to carry on her husband’s revolutionary work. Helen’s former professor and lab technician Florence (Hamilton) is encouraging, and drops some hints about exactly what her husband was working on. Helen blacks out to discover that an entire week has passed, and she’s almost immediately in communication with someone who is trying to protect her from a relentless hitman who does not have her best interests at heart. She turns to her friend Alex (Avery) for help, and they flee to an isolated cabin which once belonged to Helen’s father where they discover that she’s being guided and directed by herself in the recent past to stop herself committing murder.
Curvature is an unashamedly lo-fi low-budget sci-fi yarn which clearly takes its lead from the likes of Primer and Predestination but which loses its way due to a muddy script and a throughline which doesn’t sufficiently intrigue. There are a couple of action sequences but this is a film which mainly wants to be cerebral and metaphysical, asking questions about the nature of reality and ethics and scientific idealism but which tends to wander off-message every now again, its storyline becoming muddy and elusive when it really needs to be sharp and incisive. It dances around with its paradoxes instead of nailing them down, and the final act dissolves into a confusing haze of incident which drains the story of whatever’s left of its momentum and dynamism.
Yet Curvature isn’t a write-off. There are some decent ideas battling for attention here and there, and director Hallivis keep the action going for a while and really works to bring up the film’s production value despite the pitfalls of DeLeeaw’s bitty script. Unfortunately, Fonseca is a cold and largely unsympathetic heroine and Linda Hamilton fans are bound to be disappointed by her brief but not insignificant cameo appearances. Curvature probably misses the target more than it hits but it’s well-directed, intelligent and at least tries to be thought-provoking even if the script isn’t always properly thought through. A decent, if slightly frustrating, experience but worth your time if you like stories about time.
CURVATURE / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: DIEGO HALLIVIS / SCREENPLAY: BRIAN DELEEUW / STARRING: LYNDSY FONSECA, LINDA HAMILTON, GLENN MORSHOWER, NOAH BEAN, ZACH AVERY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW