Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Ethical time travel twists in "Aporia."

Ethical time travel twists in “Aporia.”

If you could save a departed loved one by going back in time to kill the person responsible for their death, would you — could you — do it?

If you could save a departed loved one by going back in time to kill the person responsible for their death, would you — could you — do it?

The Moral Dilemma in “Aporia”

That’s the moral and decisive dilemma adding a twist to the time-travel drama “Aporia” from writer-director Jared Moshe (“The Ballad of Lefty Brown”). The film poses some thorny questions about the nature of time and justice, and the low budget and off-the-beaten-track Los Angeles locations heighten the crisis at the heart of the raw and contemporary tale. The resulting film doesn’t entirely earn its heavy-handed, $50 title, defined in its press material as “an expression of real or pretended doubt or uncertainty,” but typically referring to the rhetorical device of a paradox or logical impasse in a text. Nevertheless, it’s still an effective, anxious yarn.

The Storyline

As the film begins, Sophie (Judy Greer) has been struggling to go on without her husband, Mal (Edi Gathegi), who was killed by a drunk driver eight months ago. Their daughter, Riley (Faithe Herman), usually a model student, has turned into a troubled teen, and the tenuous family dynamic has been uprooted.

Mal’s best friend Jabir (Payman Maadi), a former physicist moonlighting as a cabdriver, has a possible solution: He’s been working on a kind of time machine. Jury-rigging a maze of tubes and circuits, he’s built a particle accelerator that can direct energy — even lethal energy — toward a precise GPS coordinate at a specific moment in the past, within a range of five years or so. But would Sophie be willing to kill someone to get her husband back?

Jabir’s machine works, but not without repercussions. Sophie remembers the eight months she suffered without her husband, but the rest of the world doesn’t, now following an entirely new chronology. What if she kills somebody else in the past to set things in yet another, entirely different direction?

A thought-provoking film

It’s hard to watch “Aporia” without thinking of the Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” segment “Time and Punishment,” in which a tricked-out toaster sends Homer through varying timelines, including one in which it rains donuts. Moshe offers his characters a more complex toaster and a more serious look at the “butterfly effect,” the concept that posits that even the simple act of killing one insect can have far-reaching consequences.

It’s heady stuff, and a showcase for the prolific Greer, who’s usually relegated to supporting — and often comedic — roles but here has a chance to run through a wider gamut of emotion.

Room for improvement

Still, despite a strong cast and a compelling plot, the fundamental relationship between Sophie and her husband isn’t established strongly enough for Mal’s loss to deeply resonate. We feel for Sophie and see her agony, but perhaps, like a lower-budget version of “Everything Everywhere All At Once” — because she has the ability to shift multiverses, as it were — the stakes don’t seem as high as they should.

To reference yet another cultural touchstone, “Aporia” comes across like an expanded, indie-film version of “The Twilight Zone.” It’s never going to set the world on a new and unfamiliar course, but it does its job well enough.


R. At area theaters. Contains some coarse language. 104 minutes.


About Orson Park

Pack your bags and get ready to explore the world with Orson Park, our travel blogger extraordinaire. With a passion for discovering new places, cultures, and experiences, Orson covers everything from the sandy beaches of the Caribbean to the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, He offers an insider's perspective on some of the world's most fascinating and beautiful destinations. Follow him and embark on a journey of discovery that will take you to some of the most breathtaking places on earth!

Check Also

Explanation of business travel insurance coverage.

Explanation of business travel insurance coverage.

Key Takeaways Business travel insurance reimburses unexpected expenses or financial losses incurred before or during …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *