Eye For Film >> Movies >> Curvature (2017) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
The experience of bereavement can be not unlike travelling in time. When somebody isn't there whose presence has been taken for granted, the present feels disorientating, unreal. It's easy to slip into focusing on the past, letting memory entangle itself with current actions. This is even more so when the loss has a mysterious aspect. Helen (Lyndsy Fonseca) has been told that her husband Wells (Noah Bean) committed suicide. She keeps trying to understand it, to figure out what reason he could have had. Nothing makes sense.
Then, one morning, she gets a mysterious phone call telling her that she's in danger and must get out of her house. At first she doesn't take it seriously, but before she's hung up, a mysterious black car has appeared at the end of the driveway. Something is plainly wrong - and all the more so because the voice of the caller sounds like her own.
The rest of the film plays out as a thriller with Helen trying to work out what's going on and solve the mystery of her husband's death whilst staying one step ahead of Kraviz (Alex Lanipekun), the gun-happy man in the black car. It's no spoiler to say that the person who made that call is her - a future version of her who somehow travelled a week into the past - but like many such figures in science fiction stories, all she does is leave fragmentary clues and the occasional bit of practical assistance rather than anything more informative. Some help comes from workplace mentor Florence (Linda Hamilton), who comes across as one of those older female scientists who makes a point of helping out younger ones because she expects them to face unfair challenges - albeit of a different nature. Her seen-it-all-before attitude provides the film with a dash of referential humour.
Also ostensibly there to help is colleague Alex (Zach Avery), but in practice he functions more like a Doctor Who assistant, worrying a lot and giving our heroine somebody to explain the plot to. Far too much here is explained rather than shown, which is doubly problematic because for quite a bit of its running time the film isn't sure what to do with itself, padding out sections of story with angst or running about when it might have used that time more productively. There isn't much in the way of character development or chemistry between the actors (except what Hamilton and Glenn Morshower, who plays the dead man's business partner, can supply through sheer force of personality). this means that we never really engage with the characters in the way that's necessary for a thriller to work. We're just watching people go through the motions instead of feel excited or afraid for them.
Though director Diego Hallivis clearly needs to work on his handling of actors, the film is crisply photographed and, in places, beautifully framed. The technical work attains a very high standard throughout, which is always impressive with low budget films. Curvature never generates the energy it needs to succeed, held back by its leaden script, but it's still an indicator of talent and one hopes that more refined work will follow.Reviewed on: 04 Aug 2018