Movie Review: Fate – Low Budget Fun
Director: Dan Sheldon
Cast: Daniel Bonjour, Anne Claire Graham, Marshal Hilton, Jerry Hoffman, and Laura Shields
Studio: Self Destruct Films
Runtime: 95 minutes
Release Date: On VOD August 25, 2017
Rated: Not Rated
I have an irrational love for time travel movies. Something about the ability to go anywhere in time is incredibly fascinating to me. So naturally, when a film involves time traveling, it catches my interest.
Directed by Dan Sheldon, Fate introduces viewers to Connor Hughes (Daniel Bonjour), who is on the verge of making a breakthrough in his experiments on time travel. Just when he believes he’s found the key to his success, his fiance April (Anne Claire Graham) is killed in a car accident and the government shuts down his project. Desperate, he continues the research on his own in order to travel back in time to save April.
It’s hard not to notice the low-budget aesthetic of Fate. From the stock sounding score to and the special effects, to the overall look of the film, there is still something endearing about it. There’s a sense of sincerity that permeates the film. While not groundbreaking, Sheldon’s directorial debut is a fun time-bending tale despite having some serious issues.
The best compliment I can give Fate is that it utilizes time travel in a better way than some other major releases dealing with the same topic in the last few years. Each time Connor goes back in time, he has an hour to try and rescue April before being teleported back to present day. When he arrives back in the present, time resumes following whatever changes he makes to the timeline. There are holes in the storyline, however; for example, Connor never runs into other versions of himself from previous travels. Although, the film does play by the rules of its own logic and never gets too convoluted for its own good.
The problem with Fate is that it takes too long to get to the time travel. The first act is bogged down by drawn out scenes of Connor and April dealing with relationship drama. Yes, it’s meant to develop their characters so when April dies you connect with Connor’s desperation to rescue her, but unfortunately, it’s every cliche in the book. Connor is too obsessed with his work, causing him to miss anniversaries and birthdays. So April thinks he’s having an affair because he’s away all the time. It becomes grating and you end up sitting there begging for
some time travel action to happen.
The first act also features some questionable story decisions. Connor and his team are at risk of their funding being pulled due to making no progress on their experiments. However, once they figure out the secret to time travel, their funding is pulled anyway due to them not doing what the government wanted. It leads to one to wonder why the government didn’t ask for what they wanted in the first place. Government agent Spencer (Marshal Hilton) is the film’s antagonist but he’s so cartoonish, it’s hard not to laugh when he’s on screen.
Bonjour fortunately carries the film easily. There’s a charm to his performance that makes him fun to watch as he recites stereotypical scientific chatter. While Bonjour’s portrayal of Connor is not award-worthy, he’s able to keep the fmovie grounded enough to keep it within the realms of believability. Graham is serviceable as April but her character feels like a plot device, at best, to get the story going as she has little else to do throughout the film.
Director Sheldon could have done a better job with Fate. It definitely could have benefited from some reshoots because there are some scenes that absolutely need that. Some indoor sequences suffer from poor white balancing, leading the picture to have a yellow tint. The audio in some places is questionable too as a scene early on has dialogue sounding noticeably distorted. At times, I felt like I was watching a rough cut of the film.
And yet, despite its problems, I still liked Fate. Yes, there’s obvious issues on both the technical and storytelling sides. But I feel these add to the enjoyment factor much like any good B-movie. Fate is a cheesy low budget sci-fi film, but still fun to watch. Those who are looking for a guilty pleasure watch won’t be disappointed.
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All Photos: ©2017 Self Destruct Films. All Rights Reserved
© 2017, Dustin Kogler. All rights reserved.
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