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EIFF 2014: The Infinite Man

(The Infinite Man, Hugh Sullivan, 2014)

“Am I crazy to think we could be happy?”

Relationships can often be the foreground for an attempt at a sort of paradoxical time travel: you find yourself desperately trying to recapture the joy and spontaneity of your happiest moments with someone, but end up diminishing things in the attempted recreation. Such wisdom is lost on Dean (Josh McConville), the hare-brained inventor and protagonist of The Infinite Man, who is trying to recreate the perfect weekend with his paramour Lana (Hannah Marshall). When his meticulously scheduled efforts are interrupted by Lana’s aggressive ex Terry, the weekend spirals out of his control,  and he resorts to time travel – creating a closed-loop circuit to double back to the moment things went wrong and try again. Unfortunately true love isn’t wont to run smooth and this is no exception, with Dean piling revision upon revision to deleterious effect.

An Australian film written and directed by Hugh Sullivan, The Infinite Man is an absolute gem, by turns crafty, romantic, and genuinely funny. The nimble script offers up many absurdist laughs, demonstrating both philosophical and scientific literacy – the dialogue is delightfully fresh, full of the laconic wit that typifies great Aussie comedy. While Dean’s mono-maniacal focus on “fixing things” may be misguided, it is rooted in enough romantic truth to be relatable, and you come to really care for both Dean and Lana, hoping they’ll find a way to finally be happy. Performances from McConville and Marshall are wryly understated and very tender, while Alex Dimitriades demonstrates deft comedy chops as the blusteringly macho romantic foil Terry.

The plot is pleasingly knotty but always accessible, and a sparse setting is skilfully utilised to aid the time twisting tale. With dollops of lateral philosophy and an acute understanding of love’s challenges, The Infinite Man is a jaunty metaphysical joy.

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