Sci-Fi Week: Therefore I Am
A mysterious encounter between a man who claims to be from the future and the man that he claims is his former self. A surreal psychological thriller about loss and regret.
As the follow up to the outstanding dark comedy ‘The Grey Matter’, you can be forgiven for expecting the same macabre sense of fun with the latest offering from Peter and Luke McCoubrey. You would, however, be wrong. Very wrong. The McCoubrey Brothers are not joking around this time. We open on a warning being given to Herbert, played by J.D. Taylor, by an older man claiming to be his older self. As one might expect, the older Herbert, played by Kevin Breznahan is not being taken seriously.
It is not made clear to begin with, what the older Herbert is trying to get his younger self to accomplish, however the brilliantly shot conversation shows the same conversation being had with the young Herbert and different versions of his future self. Quickly it becomes clear that things are not going according to plan as Herbert continually alters the future but fails to accomplish his mission, thus causing himself to have to go back to his younger self with revised instructions. Through all of the musings of how past actions affect future outcomes, the initial scene stays with us, specifically the warning from the older Herbert to beat himself to the meeting they are now having.
An intriguing premise is immediately established suggesting that the older Herbert is afraid of himself. From that point forward, The McCoubrey Brothers succeed in hooking us within the first minute to find out exactly what Herbert is so afraid of and what he is trying to prevent. The concept of alternate futures has been explored many times before, but what impresses here is the creativity in the method. Several conversations are compressed down into one seamless montage that at once limits the amount of time we will have to be given the same information and also silently communicates that Herbert’s mission is not only very important, but has a very high chance of failure.
As with all great filmmakers, The McCoubrey Brothers succeed in communicating to the audience, that which is not spelled out. The influence of 80s sci-fi/thrillers is also on display here, particularly in Ron Patane’s original score that has very strong John Carpenter vibes, a style that plays well with the mystery of the story and suggested threat of the future Herberts that continue to warn and attempt to instruct the younger model. Luke McCoubrey’s cinematography also pulls its weight with the mood and lighting falling just shy of foreboding until the film begins to approach its climax. His experienced eye shows us what subtly sinister looks like, with the majority of the film, taking place in Herbert’s apartment.
The opening of the film and the climactic revelations require a much more foreboding darkness, which Luke McCoubrey delivers in spades. This is one of the areas where we see the spotlight-punctuated darkness of 80s horror that was used to such good effect in ‘The Grey Matter’. Peter McCoubrey fields writing duties on this one and leans hard into making sense of the many worlds interpretation of time travel. Extra credit goes to him for being able to deliver the one-two punch of concept and plot in such a limited running time without leaving either underdone. While the script is dialogue-heavy, it is not overloaded and actually keeps all the potential time travel techno-babble very much in check, leaving lots of breathing room for the McCoubreys as directors to add those subtle beats that show younger Herbert slowly being convinced of what he is being shown and told.
Once again, The McCoubrey Brothers pull off a movie well worthy of your time and as with all good time travel stories, this is one to watch again and again as you are sure to notice more on your second or third go round.
Studio: McCoubrey Films | Year: 2015 | Genre: Sci-Fi | Duration: 7 mins | Suitability: General - Suitable for general audiences
Directors: Luke McCoubrey, Peter McCoubrey | Producer: Cody Ryder | Writer: Peter McCoubrey