Fantasia 2013: Iíll Follow You Down

The Evening Class, 29 July 2013
By Michael Guillen

Richie Mehta, the Genie-nominated director of 'Amal', and producer Lee Kim hosted the world premiere of 'I'll Follow You Down', a time travel tale whose genre underpinnings serve an existential if overly-subdued meditation on whether or not the consequences of poor choices can (or even should) be corrected. Well-intentioned and adequately realized, the film nonetheless made me wish I could go back in time and recover the 90 minutes I had just spent. Thatís possibly my failing, more than the filmís, as I was anticipating something quite different than what I got. Less flashy than thematically comparable films such as Nacho Vigalondoís 'Timecrimes' (2007), Rian Johnsonís 'Looper' (2012), or for that matter George Palís quintessential 'The Time Machine' (1960), 'Iíll Follow You Down' tries too hard to make its science convincing, which results in a very talkey script and lots of chalkboard scrawling (let alone a fairly ridiculous scene where our protagonist uses a felt pin marker to graph out mathematical formulas all over a basement wall). All that effort doesnít really translate into a story that is more intelligent, even if more plausible. Though I will admit the filmís strong ending took me by surprise and redeemed the narrative with a powerful emotional punch.

Performances are solid, particularly Gillian Anderson ('The X-Files', 'House of Mirth') who I adore, and who drew me into the film in the first place. She could clean out a refrigerator and manage to find enough emotional nuance between the mustard and the mayonnaise to keep me captivated. Here, she plays a woman devastated by the unexplained disappearance of her husband. Haley Joel Osment ('The Sixth Sense', 'A.I.') hasnít been on my radar for some time and Iím not sure this blip will keep him there. Again, thatís my failing. Itís hard for me to separate the child star from the adult heís become and his performance here doesnít reconcile the difference. Victor Garber does what he always does; but, Rufus Sewell impressed me for the emotional credence he gives to a small role with such short screen time, literally bringing the film home in its final scene. The fade-out on his smile was mysterious and captivating. I really wish I could have liked this film more. I certainly wanted to.

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