I am a sucker for time travel-based genre fiction. The idea of time travel is not only captivating with respect to how we can approach the future and the past, but it also allows for a fantastic tool set when dealing with grief, pain, sorrow, and countless other emotions that come from the loss of a loved one. A previous short highlighted on this blog, Jesse Atlas’ “Record/Play”, did a wonderful job of this, as does this week’s short: “Interview with a Time Traveler”, written by Peter Rowley, and directed by James Cooper.
Taking place in a single hotel room, Interview plays out as much like a play as it does a film. Smartly written as a conversation, the audience is left to figure out the plot along with the film’s supporting character Paul, a journalist, asked to interview The Traveler who has had an uncanny ability to predict events before they occur (think stock movements and sporting event outcomes). Both Paul and The Traveler are portrayed with incredible strength by the actors Elias Toufexis (Paul) and Eric Johnson (the Traveler). Johnson, now recognizable for his part in the excellent television series The Knick, has a sense of cynicism and frustration boiling behind his eyes. This is a man that has been broken by something. Ulterior motives are clear, though both Paul and you the viewer have no idea what those motivations are. The pacing is excellent, and the ten minute running time is the perfect amount to create the tension necessary to leave you hanging on every line of dialogue.
I also have to give credit to the atmospheric lighting and music throughout the short. Both are smartly minimalist. The darkness of the hotel room only adds to the tension, while the long fluctuating notes of the keyboard-driven score had the hairs on the back of my neck standing at full attention.
Interview with a Time Traveler has shown itself to be one of the most slickly crafted shorts I have seen in some time. I can say with great ease that it is one of my most-favourite shorts to have come out in 2014. Please give the film a watch, as it continues to show the strength of the time-traveling genre as a source for strong story development and pathos.
Follow Tom on Twitter @thomaskagar