Time Lapse (2001) poster

Time Lapse (2001)


USA. 2001.


Director/Photography – David Worth, Screenplay – Karen Kelly & David Keith Miller, Producer – Paul Hertzberg, Music – Deddy Tzur, Special Effects – Ultimate Effects (Supervisor – David Waine), Production Design – Timothy Roberts. Production Company – CineTel Films/Past Tense Inc.


William McNamara (Clayton Pierce), Dina Meyer (Kate Pierce), Roy Scheider (Quince La Nova), Haskell Vaughn Anderson III (Dr Scott Warren), Henry Rollins (Steve Gaines), Barry Lynch (Simon Powell), Adoni Maropis (Faisal), Cassandra Hitti (Sooz Lee)


Counter-terrorism agent Clayton Pierce is involved in an undercover operation to infiltrate a group of arms dealers as they sell a suitcase-sized Russian nuclear weapon to the Iraqis, but the deal goes wrong. Coming around after being shot, Clay finds the details of what happened and his own life are blurred. He realises that he has been slipped an experimental memory-erasing drug and that people, including his own boss Quince La Nova, want knowledge of the arms deal buried. Clay races against time and his own disappearing memory, all the while hunted by his own side, to find out what happened.

Time Lapse is one of the action films made by CineTel Films, a company that specialises in low-budget action films. CineTel have produced the likes of 976-Evil (1988), Judgment Day (1999), Chain of Command (2000), Guardian (2001) and the Relentless series, among others. Director David Worth has also been responsible for a number of B-budget action films, including Kickboxer (1989) and Lady Dragon (1992). Within the genre, David Worth has made post-holocaust film Warriors of the Lost World (1983), the serial killer thriller The Prophet’s Game (1999), Shark Attack 2 (2001), Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002), the ghost story The House at the End of the Drive (2012) and the psycho film Hazard Jack (2014).

Time Lapse could be described as an action movie version of the sensational arthouse hit Memento (2000), which came out a few months earlier and featured Guy Pearce trying to solve a murder despite the impediment of an amnesia that periodically blanks his memory. Memento dealt with its idea in dazzling ways but Time Lapse almost entirely wastes any potential its idea might have had.

Time Lapse is a tedious film, driven by mechanically grafted-on car chase sequences and shootouts. Crucially, it is these boilerplate action sequences that keep the film moving, never any twists of the plot. Hero William McNamara also comes across as being thick as a plank. With such an inexpressive and rather baffled-seeming actor at the centre of the show, we have a hero that lacks any complexity or depth – the interesting idea of a hero slowly losing his memory seems wasted on such a wooden lead.

The plotting itself is just dumb – I mean, how contrived a scheme can you have than one where the villains slip the hero a drug that erases his memory, all in the hope that this situation will lead them to the missing scientist? Surely erasing someone’s memory is more likely to make them forget where the scientist is rather than lead them to him. The chess clues that give vast intuitive leaps leading to map directions and license plates seem totally surreal.

The action sequences are routine, gaining only a degree of effect at the climax with a moderately spectacular sequence involving a skidding overturned tanker and a car escaping an exploding bridge. A very weatherbeaten looking Roy Scheider walks through as the villain of the show.

Trailer here

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