Film Marie O'Sullivan's Film Reviews

Infinitum: Subject Unknown – MANIFF 2021


Wake, escape, repeat. Marie finds a film with minimal cast and crew filmed under lockdown restrictions which works remarkably well, given the circumstances.

It was bound to happen, and it will be one of many – a film shot during lockdown restrictions with limited cast and crew. Husband and wife team Matthew and Tori Butler-Hart, together with a small group of mostly family and friends, have created a film which, under the circumstances, is quite remarkable.

Tori Butler-Hart plays Jane, a woman who seems to be caught in a time loop; she wakes to find herself tied to a chair and needs to find a way of escaping. She gets so far on her mission before reaching an impasse, and wakes again to find herself in the same situation. Except each time she tries to escape, she seems to recall snippets of information from her previous attempts which means she gets further with each attempt.

Infinitum: Subject Unknown is kind of Groundhog Day meets Source Code but on a tiny UK indie budget.

In a clever manipulation of lockdown constraints, Tori Butler-Hart is alone on screen most of the time with any other characters either edited in, on a computer screen or played by herself. Her husband Matthew writes, directs, and controls the camera. The story works well with the restrictions and never feels forced into keeping people apart on screen.

The end credits roll with a list of reference materials, including a host of books by Isaac Asimov and various other writings on quantum physics, which gives an idea of where this is coming from; experimentation on human evolution, psychokinesis and The Paraverse are all phrases which pop up.

It’s a really interesting concept, well directed, acted and with creative editing by William Honeyball, and with the cameo appearances by Ian McKellen and Conleth Hill bound to draw attention. 

But in all honesty even at 86 minutes it still runs a bit long and becomes a little repetitive, and was probably better suited to a short rather than a full feature.

Infinitum: Subject Unknown screened as part of Manchester Film Festival 2021 online.

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