Directed by: Michael Peake
Written by: Michael Peake, David James
JACOB'S PARADOX ( 2015 )
Clearly a shift in the industry has caused a barrage of time travel films to mark their territory in the independent scene. Once dominated by horror and comedy, a new Sci-Fi element has emerged with no small thanks given to the bigger studios, who began hitting us with these types of films years ago. I'm game, I love a good time travel flick, and if done right no reason exists why an indie film couldn't stack up against the biggie studio productions. "Jacob's Paradox" seemingly has all the right stuff to make the cut, and for the most part does just that.
In the movie, Michael Peake plays Jacob Matthews, a man who believes he can alter the past saving the life of his wife. The concept is unusually common for a time travel film, so right off the bat "Jacob's Paradox" needed much more to impress the indie-going public; which it attempted to do through sheer writing and the visual aspects, all of which would be the key to making or breaking the film.
The real problem this, and any indie production faces when it comes to time traveling films is allowing the viewer to "get it", having them able to follow the characters along their journey. A connection must be made, especially if the story happens to be a little confusing. "Jacob's Paradox" manages this feat through an easy feeling connection between cast members, allowing a film that although fantastic, does come across as believable.
The thing with a time travel flick, even if the confusion factor is toned down, it still has to make your head hurt a little. Otherwise what fun is it? "Jacob's Paradox" is pretty standard when it comes to the flow of the film, going easy on the viewer with it's "time travel" elements. We are treated to the required flashbacks showing us the purpose of the characters, and finally the time travel experience itself... all put together in a plausible way and gift wrapped with pumpkins for a maximum, yet simple explanation of what's happening. However, this tidy collection of small chapters crashes at the end as you try and comprehend the last bit of the film. Some will love the ending, it hurts your head thinking about it. Some will not... and some won't even understand it. "Jacob's Paradox" succeeds in letting the average viewer follow along right up till the bitter end. Then, instead of a nice and neat conclusion we're hit with a bomb. As I wrote, die hard genre junkies will love it. The rest of us? Not quite as much.
Visually I was quite impressed with Michael Peake's offering. As an indie film "Jacob's Paradox" has a lot to offer in the production department. Some very nice locations that actually pertain to the film are present, and the majority of the cinematography is top notch. Very few scenes remind you this is an indie film! A few red thumbs do exist however, during the opening scene and near the climax of the film; mainly in the form of some shaky camera work. No doubt this was intended to add emotion to the segment but the reality is: Shaky shots remind us all that this is an indie, and not a studio production, most of the time anyhow.
The "time machine" itself is straight out of a bigger budget production, and every time I got a chance to see it I smiled. What exactly was that thing before becoming a "time device" anyhow? Very cool and unusually anti-indie.
Performance-wise I actually have no complaints. Well above average portrayals from the main cast rival much of what you'll see on television now days. The few "iffy" performances all came from the supporting team, and even they were decent. Michael Peake's direction has really upped the ante of this indie flick, making it flow in an enjoyable way.
"Jacob's Paradox" overall is one heck of an indie film. Although a little slow at times, it reminds us all that you don't need a few million bucks to entertain a viewer. Visually this is easily one of the better productions I've seen with under a 5K or even 20K budget; the fact it's actually well written and well done just adds more teeth to the indie industry. Hands down a great accomplishment making Mr. Peake a writer/director/actor to keep an eye on.