7 Splinters in Time advances from a well-timed reveal. It’s a wordy spiel of exposition delivered by the dependable and always admirable character actor Austin Pendleton, but it’s a scene that justifies the film’s frenetic style and narrative; turning incomprehensible details into awesome creativity.
Homicides litter the streets of a futuristic dystopia, and a angst-ridden detective (Edoardo Ballerini) can’t help but notice how identical the victims are to each other. What’s even weirder is that they all look like him. As he tries to solve the case and identify if he’s in danger, scenery glitches out around him and new acquaintances spin him into more of a confused mess.
Viewers may notice writer/director Gabriel Judet-Weinshel borrowing certain aspects from other modern science fiction (there’s a heavy Looper vibe throughout). However as soon as 7 Splinters in Time starts to resemble a clone, Judet-Weinshel finds a way to disguise the scent with surprises and oddball performances. The same can be partially stated about the production design that works hard to capture the bleak atmosphere of the movie. Unfortunately, rough cut-and-paste computer graphics reveal the film’s overly ambitious appetite.
But then, that reveal. This film is 75-minutes, a shorter duration than usual. The movie spills the beans around the 40-minute mark – about halfway through. This is such a notable strength for Judet-Weinshel’s screenwriting because suddenly the film blooms and wants the viewer to catch up. Gabriel Judet-Weinshel could’ve continued slinging “cool shots” at his viewer (ala Terminal) but, instead, he shows consideration for his audience. For the rest of the movie, 7 Splinters in Time continues to spin a complicated web, but it becomes less of a disposable arthouse flick and more of a generous, interactive thriller.
7 Splinters in Time won’t be everyone’s cup o’ tea, but sci-fi fans will eat this up and ask for seconds.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie