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Movie Review: Reversion

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Bang! | Photo courtesy of Reversion

Built around an intriguing, but ultimately flawed premise, Reversion attempts to tackle questions of destiny, freewill, and morality. The second film from writer/director Mia Tachinger (Bunny), Reversion premiered this year at Sundance and plays as a low budget sci-fi film. The story centers around Eva (Leslie Silva), a woman who is missing the “time gene.” She and the others like her do not live their lives in a linear fashion. Everything that they have experienced, will experience and are experiencing happens at the same time, all mashed together.

The film starts by successfully creating a feeling for a different reality slightly out of sync with our own. Everything looks familiar but things happen just a hair out of line with normalcy. Two characters react casually to a carjacking and more crimes appear to run rampant but unproblematic throughout the city. Going through a grocery store, Eva steals food and runs into people who appear to be common thieves like her. When she leaves the store, a clerk chases after her and a whole group of people flee also, implying the degree to which this subculture exists. While Eva goes through her day, a few seconds here and there are repeated, but the audience does not have a full understanding of what this means.

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What time is it again? | Photo courtesy of Reversion

Maybe the concept became too complicated for the filmmakers to explain, but instead of having the characters naturally reveal their mutation and show what that means, we unfortunately get a very clumsy and forced exposition placed in the middle of the grocery store scene. There is a cut to two men smoking marijuana on a roof who basically say, there are mutant people who lack the time gene and everything happens at the same time for them. These two interrupt the film a few more times but never take part in the story. They are like a Greek chorus who stopped paying attention and started smoking weed. It is a very jarring addition and feels like an afterthought used to pacify someone’s complaint about not knowing what’s going on early enough in the film.

There are a few times when the idea of mashed time is used to great effect and show the type of complicated/trippy movie this could have been. Two specific scenes standout, one where Eva unknowingly takes a circular journey starting and stopping in the same location and another where a conversation becomes hampered by confusion over when the event they are apologizing for actually happened. Instead of continuing with this, the film presents a fairly linear story which seems out of place for characters who can’t comprehend linear reality.

As Eva, Leslie Silva proves to be a solid center for the film and keeps you engaged in her actions. Her love interest Marcus (Jason Olive) isn’t quite as dynamic and along with the script keeps you distant from their relationship. It’s hard to feel the tension of the final act which the entire film builds towards, when their relationship seems so thin.

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Good science fiction can be a commentary on current society, but here all the questions about morality and consequences get lost in the confusion of the characters’ condition and what it all really means.

Review by Eric Werner

Reversion screens tonight at 7 pm as part of the Hollywood Black Film Festival.

Ticket and showtime info can be found here.