Infinitum: Subject Unknown (2021) poster

Infinitum: Subject Unknown (2021)


UK. 2021.


Director/Photography – Matthew Butler-Hart, Screenplay/Producers – Matthew Butler-Hart & Tori Butler-Hart, Additional Photography – Paolo Donati & Conleith Hill, Music – Tom Kane, Visual Effects – Ben Honeyball, Production Design – Tori Butler-Hart. Production Company – Fizz and Ginger Films.


Tori Butler-Hart (Jane/Number 7), Ian McKellen (Dr Charles Marland-White), Conleith Hill (Professor Aaron Ostergaard)


A woman wakes up bound to a chair in a house. She frees herself and tries to escape the house but the scenario keeps repeating itself and she is forced to do so over and over. In the course of doing so, she sees multiple other versions of herself. The city outside seems strangely deserted. She is drawn to a large old mansion where the Wytness Research Centre has been conducting experiments to open up the multiverse.

Infinitum: Subject Unknown was the fourth film for British director Matthew Butler-Hart. Butler-Hart had previously made the non-genre likes of Miss in Her Teens (2014) and Two Down (2015), as well as The Isle (2018) about shipwreck survivors on a haunted island. Butler-Hart makes all his films with his wife Tori, who usually co-writes and acts, while together they operate as Fizz and Ginger Films

Infinitum: Subject Unknown was shot in the UK during the Corona Virus Lockdown of 2020. It is essentially a home movie made by Butler-Hart and Tori. All of the roles in the film – directing, writing, producing, photography and production design are shared between the two of them. She is the only person who appears on screen. There are some scenes with Ian McKellen and Conleith Hill, which appear to have been filmed remotely but Tori does not physically interact with either of them nor any of the other figures that occasionally appear as ghosts. Outside of Matthew and Tori, there appears to be only two other people who worked on the post-production side of things and a couple of others who conducted the shoots with Ian McKellen and Conleith Hill.

Into the bargain, Butler-Hart shot the entire film on an iPhone. This is something that had previously conducted by Steven Soderbergh with Unsane (2018). What is impressive is how much Butler-Hart is able to achieve with a simple cellphone camera – if I had not read otherwise, I would have assumed he was just using a regular camera. With this, he manages to capture some often beautiful outdoor landscapes.

Tori Butler-Hart caught in a timeloop in Infinitum: Subject Unknown (2021)
Tori Butler-Hart caught in a timeloop

Initially, Infinitum is a difficult film to watch. Tori Butler-Hart is the only person on screen for the entire running time – certainly, Matthew Butler-Hart does a reasonable job of making the world outside seem inhabited with voices and lights of soldiers coming from off camera and of airships overhead, all while not seeing another person (other than the occasional ghost).

It is not clear for a large section of the film what is happening. It eventually becomes apparent that we are watching is a timeloop film. This is a genre that has gained some popularity in recent years with the likes of Groundhog Day (1993) through to Edge of Tomorrow (2014) and Happy Death Day (2017), among others. (For a more detailed overview see Timeloop Films). The fact that everything is taking place in a timeloop is not made clear by the editing where Tori keeps confusingly flipping between scenarios and even sees ghosts of herself. Not to mention scenes where she is able to affect things in the other timeline – such as starting the VW van or pressing the keys on the organ, even nearly running a ghost of herself down on the road. Even when an explanation comes at the end, it fails to make some of these things clearcut.

Unlike most of these other timeloop films, Matthew Butler-Hart is not interested in the familiar telling where we see the protagonist going through the same scenarios and encountering minute repetitions on these. Part of this may well be because there are no other people that Tori is reacting to – it is as though we were watching Groundhog Day and the film kept flipping to random parts of Bill Murray in each of different timeline without any other characters present or bothering with the sequence of events that preceded.

Trailer here

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