The Sticky Fingers of Time

81 minutes

Director Hilary Brougher combines the sexy languor of film noir with a tongue-in-cheek SF sensibility in this film about a mystery writer who becomes unstuck in time after witnessing the first test of the atomic bomb. The protagonist and her friend, a suicidally depressed would-be writer, learn the dangers and frustrations of time travel and the potential for self-invention through desire as they make seemingly random leaps from decade to decade, encountering a wilderness populated by "time freaks" who could be friends or enemies. Though complicated, the plot has an interesting payoff, the slow burn of an understated but surprisingly erotic love story that crisscrosses 40 years. There's also a very queer sensibility to the film: Brougher uses a subtle camp aesthetic to explore illusory appearances, and the costumes and cinematography cite fashion and film conventions to establish the decade of any given scene. Seeded with playful references to 50s SF and even Alice in Wonderland, the film cleverly imagines a time line cluttered with what might have been, impossibilities and inevitabilities that are never what they seem.

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