Reversion (full disclosure: I am friendly with the filmmaker and once executive-produced a documentary film she made) is Mia Trachinger’s thought-provoking lo-fi science fiction movie/rumination on mortality, memory and destiny, and it does what any low-budget independent film ought to do, which is to assure the viewer that its maker is capable of great things. Will people come out to see this? At museums, sure. In theatres, the answer is probably not beyond a small cognescenti seeking the offbeat. But fortunately, the film is lo fi enough that this would make it a success. The whole point is for the artist to live and work again.
At the risk of playing the word-association games critics frequently resort to for movies they’re not sure they fully understand, Reversion is like an Alex Cox movie made by Jim Jarmusch; like Repo Man, it’s a genre fantasy in an only slightly alternate universe utilizing nary a lick of phantasmagoric art direction, and like Jarmusch, Trachinger has a good eye and a way with broken, elliptical and circular dialogue that exerts a slow but cumulative fascination for the sympathetic viewer.
The plot concerns a mutant subculture in Silver Lake, California, that doesn’t possess what Reverison calls the “time gene” or somesuch; like Kurt Vonnegut’s interstellar Tralfamadorians, they live in the past, present and future all at the same time. For Eva (Leslie Silva, simultaneously channeling Pam Grier and Joie Lee), this is a particular source of torment, because she knows she’s fated to shoot her lover Marcus (Jason Olive) but she doesn’t know exactly why. Eva tries to elude her fate, in the process addressing a truckload of existential concerns in ways both humorous and profound.
Given such high thematic ambitions and very limited means, the seams show of course, as they almost always do. The acting is variable, and Olive in particular has a regrettable kind of L.A. look about him that can only be gotten by spending uncounted hours working out while waiting for agents and producers to make phone calls that almost never come. Trachinger and her technical team also rely a little heavily on the Final Cut Pro and After Effects gimmickry that has broken out in the indie experimental scene like an unchecked case of measles.
But Trachinger clearly has the wit and the talent to do thought-provoking and challenging work. All she needs is a producer with similar aspirations, and she’ll be well on her way toward fully achieving the promise on display here.
Contact: Lane Street Pictures firstname.lastname@example.org (818) 332-9940
Cast: Leslie Silva, Jason Olive and Tom Maden
Director/Screenwriter: Mia Trachinger
Producer: Rebecca Sonnenshine
Genre: Experimental Science Fiction
Running time: 90 min.
Release date: June 10 LA