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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.22%
Worth A Look: 0%
Just Average: 0%
Pretty Crappy66.67%
Sucks: 11.11%

1 review, 3 user ratings

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by Jay Seaver

"A sci-fi romance's strange doppelaganger."
2 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2014 BOSTON SCI-FI FILM FESTIVAL: A lot of sci-fi films don't really make a blasted bit of sense, but that's not really the issue with which "Inverse" grapples. Once all of its cards are on the table, the story seems like a potentially plausible sequence of events, if an extremely unlikely one. The trouble is, it seems to want to be one of those emotional sci-fi movies where the emotional truth makes up for the fuzziness of its plotting, and it winds up too cold for that.

It opens promisingly, with an amnesiac man (Josh Wingate) emerging from a swimming pool and dragging himself into the house, where he is confronted by a number of cards wishing Max's wife Veronica (Alanna Priere) condolences over his death. She, naturally, is freaked out to see him up and around, and while she tells him to stay inside and out of sight while she tries to help figure out what's going on, he's soon assaulted by a ton of contradictory information - whether coming in the form of mysterious phone calls from a guy named Batter (Morlan Higgins), who claims to owe him a favor and know the score, or his own emerging memories of a different woman (Michelle Lawrence) who seems to have nothing in common with Veronica.

Inverse has a number of problems, but in so many cases it seems to boil down to there not being a clear point to what's going on. Sure, the final act spells one facet of it out, but that calls for an emotional investment that never materialized because everyone involved has been so confoundingly cryptic. Explanations of what is going on to set up that situation are eventually offered, but they wind up feeling like nothing more than sets of rules which fall just short of "because the movie would be ten minutes long if someone did something sensible". Indeed, when the inevitable government goons show up, it's a good thing that they are such thorough villains; otherwise we might sympathize with them just for having a clear goal and the will to go after it.

Chris Pauley seems to be having a fine time diving into his part as the sadistic spook looking to get his hands on whatever technology has Max running around not dead. It's not a great performance, but Pauley is committed as all heck to it. The main cast is not quite so flamboyant, but they're still fairly appealing. Josh Wingate can at times come across as a good-looking blank, but then that is where he starts out. He's a pleasant and frequently-shirtless presence, though, with a few moments where he gets to stretch a bit. Alanna Priere and Michelle Lawrence work well with him.

They all do okay with what they're given, but it often feels like writer/director Matt Duggan won't just let the details of the story get out of their way, so the movie bounces between the characters not doing much of anything to them doing the only thing they can because their actions have been so carefully directed. Then there are just stupid bits, like every time someone tries to explain that the other character is literally too stupid to understand what's going on (made worse by how the supposedly less intelligent guy gets the more entertaining end of the argument). By the end, it's clear that there's a science-fictional love story underneath all that junk that might have had a chance to be something interesting if Duggan had just found a way to tell it, rather than delay telling it until later.

By the end, the viewer will know what happened, and maybe if he squints a little, there will be a certain logic to it (admittedly, an overcomplicated they've-got-different-brains sort of logic). But they likely won't feel it, and that's what the story needed more than anything else.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=26294&reviewer=371
originally posted: 02/15/14 00:20:09
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2014 Boston SciFi Film Festival For more in the 2014 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/16/14 Heather D. I really enjoyed, the acting was really fantastic 5 stars
2/20/14 Kim S. One of the worst films of the festival. Mostly Inscrutable, often idiotic, always boring 1 stars
2/18/14 Anne F. I thought the film was art and thought provoking. It has stayed with me. 5 stars
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Directed by
  Matt Duggan

Written by
  Matt Duggan

  Josh Wingate
  Alanna Priere
  Michelle Lawrence
  Morlan Higgins
  Chris Pauley
  John Burish

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