Monday, December 22, 2014

The Sticky Fingers of Time (1997)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Movies involving time travel tend to fall into one of two categories.  Either the main characters can change the past or they’re fated to live out what they know to have happened.  Occasionally, you’ll get a movie where some of the historical facts were wrong, thus allowing someone an out.  However, most time travel movies have some sort if major event (almost always someone’s death) that can’t be avoided.

In the case of Sticky Fingers of Time, Tucker Harding is a writer from the past who comes to the present only to find a news article foretelling her murder.  The article falls out of a book that she’s working on and is apparently published and eventually purchased by Drew, an aspiring writer who doesn’t think she’s very talented.

Eventually, the two meet.  Tucker wants to see the book so that she can see how the story ends, but Drew threw the book away.  (She just wanted it for the cover art.)  Drew also meets Isaac, a time traveler who has a bit more experience.  It turns out that Isaac has already met Drew, although Drew hasn’t met Isaac until now.  (One of the complexities of time travel is meeting people out of order.)

It turns out that Drew is also a time traveler, although she doesn’t have much control over it.  There have been a few times in her life where she’s apparently blacked out when she was actually jumping ahead in time.  (It turns out that no time traveler has much control over when or where they jump.  Any strong emotional event will send you to some other point in time.)

The time travelers call themselves time freaks.  Their soul has some sort of anomaly that allows them to live time in a nonlinear fashion.  Drew and Tucker have the ability naturally.  Isaac, on the other hand, has had a set of things implanted in his fingers that adds the necessary code.  There’s also Ofelia, Tucker’s roommate/girlfriend, who’s apparently from our future.  Not much is said about her except that she has a prehensile tail that’s shown only once.

To explain the entire movie would be difficult, mostly because it’s hard to understand on the first viewing.  Part of the problem with a complicated time-travel story is that things happen out of order for most of the characters.  Even when the events are shown from one character’s perspective, many of the other characters are shown experiencing things out of order.  (Like I said, the first time that Isaac meets Drew isn’t the first time that Drew meets Isaac.)  You may have to watch it two or three times to understand the whole thing.

The writing is definitely good, even though the movie takes a few minutes to really get in to.  It starts with Tucker writing and Ofelia looking for some coffee to make.  All of a sudden, Tucker is in the present trying to chase down Isaac.  Most of the beginning shows Tucker and Drew going about their business.  It isn’t until everyone starts meeting everyone else that it gets really interesting.

Also, the acting is uneven.  Some of the lines were delivered a little too stiffly.  I could see this turning off a lot of potential viewers, which would be unfair.  There is some good acting in the movie; it’s really just one or two actors that brought it down.

The movie was just under 90 minutes, which proved to be a good length.  Any longer and I probably wouldn’t have stuck with it.  Any shorter and it probably would have suffered.  I’d definitely recommend sticking with it.  Sometimes, it’s fun to watch an independent movie. 


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