Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Time loop stories are redemption stories. The protagonists are forced to understand themselves through repetition, allowing them a luxurious self-reflection that no one gets in real life. In this one a female uni student is murdered at the end of the repeated day. She has to solve her own murder to stop it and get to the next day. This can't go on forever; each time she wakes some of the effects of the previous murder remain with her, giving her two clocks to beat.

This is told with the big colour palette of a teen movie and is led by the bright and electric Jessica Rothe who reveals her core bitchiness in the first scene of the film by doing no more than opening her eyes. She brings a speed, physicality and lightness to the role which does a lot to fend off the fatigue of the repetition, developing from bewilderment through opportunism, terror and some light but genuine poignancy. Tone her performance down a hair and it will plod, tone it up and it will exhaust; a Goldilocks performance.

There might be a laboured moment here or there from the supporting cast but the pace is sustained and the running time kept to a civilised ninety-six minutes. What else can be said? The director does comedy and suspense with equal confidence, blending the two and serving some fun twists using both. More than just the resemblance between Rothe and a young Sarah Michelle Gellar and the smartarse dialogue this has the same feel as a good Buffy episode before the series started getting weighty.

Earlier this year there was Before I Fall with a similar premise where an alpha chick rolled around the same day avoiding her own death and coming to understand the worst of what she was. The sombreness of that piece make it seem compared to this like a remake of Groundhog Day by Paul Thomas Anderson. Really, though, the tales are basically the same it's just that the treatment of it in the earlier film comes from sober experience (though its narrator is younger) and the latter has a bitchy energy that doesn't stop to trample the roses. Be an interesting double bill.

So why should you see something that implicates you in its Groundhog Day premise yet again? (That film and its star are namechecked with very funny results, btw.) No reason except that it keeps to its plan with enough style and vigour and lets you just sit back and take it. Sometimes a choctop is just a choctop and I looooove choctops.

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