Sunday, April 11, 2010

11 Minutes Ago
Review by Sombrero Grande

I recently stumbled upon this hidden gem of a film whilst browsing indie films on Netflix. I always enjoy a good time travel story, so I gave 11 Minutes Ago a try, and am I ever glad a did! If you're a fan of time travel stories, low-budget indie films, sci-fi, mystery, or romance, 11 Minutes Ago is a wonderful film that you owe it to yourself to see.

Probably the best way to go into this film is knowing as little as possible about it (like I did), so only if you still need convincing to give this film a try, read on. I'll do my best to avoid big spoilers, but if your interest is already piqued as a fan of any of the above genres I mentioned, or if you enjoy your tales told out-of-order and full of "a-ha!" moments (think Lost), then I'd stop reading now and go watch 11 Minutes Ago immediately.

Still with me? Okay, then. Again, just to warn you, there are a few small spoilers ahead.

Protagonist Pack is the world's first "Time Tumbler." What the Time Tumbling process is or how it works isn't important to the story; it's simply a means for Pack to travel back in time from 48 years in the future to obtain a clean air sample. Upon arriving in the present, Pack is shocked to find a camera crew awaiting his arrival. Pack's Time Tumbling has dropped him into the middle of a wedding reception where he's apparently already made quite an impression on some of the guests and members of the wedding party. The camera crew informs him not only that that his clean air mission is a success in the future, but that he's already made 7 other trips back to that very night in the past two hours. Perplexed, Pack wonders what could possibly have driven him to return several more times to that very night if his mission was successful. Enter Cynthia, an attractive and kind-hearted bridesmaid who not only recognizes Pack but has apparently somehow already fallen in love with him.

The problem Pack faces with his Time Tumbling experiments is that he can only stay in the past for 11 minutes at a time before he must return to his own time. At first he begins returning to our present simply out of curiosity, but when he researches Cynthia's life up until the first time he meets her, Pack realizes that she's the woman of his dreams and must figure out how to get her to fall in love with him in only 11 minutes.

Since the crew that ends up recording Pack's story is technically there to film the wedding reception, the cameras focus from time to time on some of the other, smaller stories going on. These stories of the other guests at the reception cleverly play out different notions of time and romance. One woman feels like her life ended two years prior when her husband committed suicide. Another insists on always "living in the now" as she cheats on her boyfriend with an older man who wants to know where their relationship is going.

11 Minutes Ago gets even more remarkable when it's revealed that the entire film was shot in just one day! It appears that the entire wedding reception was shot in essentially one long take with the actor playing Pack (Ian Michaels) having to perform his role out of sync with everyone else's (the film is edited together to follow Pack's perspective throughout the night).

Hopefully by now I've been able to convince you to seek out 11 Minutes Ago, a delightful time-travel tale that's brimming with clever writing, heart-warming romance and intriguing mysteries. If I haven't, it looks like I'll have to Time Tumble back to the beginning of writing this review and try again.


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