Lost Time (1)

Kicking off this year’s Sci-Fi-London Film Festival, Lost Time is described in the programme notes thus: “A psychological sci-fi thriller with horror overtones, it doesn’t always go where you expect it to”. This is a very accurate description, but unfortunately the places the story goes are sometimes places it probably shouldn’t have.

The story concerns a cancer patient, Valerie (Rochelle Vallese), who has just been told that her condition is terminal. On the way home with her sister Melissa (Jenni Blong) a bizarre and traumatic event occurs in which the latter mysteriously disappears. Has she been abducted by aliens? Four months later Valerie’s cancer has vanished, but she is still risking her health trudging the mean streets of the city trying to find Melissa. Lurking in the background is cop boyfriend Carter (Luke Goss), who is somewhat frustrated that Valerie feels unable to resume normal relations until her quest has achieved its goal. Valerie seeks out author Dr Xavier Reed (Robert Davi), who insists that the answers lie within her and that he can help her find them. However, his treatment turns out to be distinctly unconventional.

The basic story is rather good and there are one or two nice twists, but there are also some slightly risible ones and the dialogue at times is distinctly creaky. There were a few places where laughter was unintentionally elicited from the audience around me. There is also some rather obvious padding, with an overuse of dialogue-free scenes where the images are set to music, but which do not move the story along.

I assume that Lost Time is a low-budget labour of love, as actors Vallese, Goss, and Davi appear variously among the credits for writing, production, and music supervision. Director Christian Sesma also has credits for writing and production. However, it is in the writing and direction that weaknesses are most apparent. On the positive side, Rochelle Vallese really rises above the material to give an excellent performance as Valerie. She is definitely the star of the show, even more so than Robert Davi, who has appeared in major movies such as Die Hard and License to Kill. Davi is adequate enough here, but much of his oddness relies on the theatricality of wearing a coat, hat, and scarf indoors. Former Bros singer Luke Goss certainly looks the part of a tough cop, being all stubbly and shaven-headed, and kicking bad guys’ asses in his first scene. However, he fails to shine in his role, which is unsurprising as most of his lines seem to consist of uninspiring phrases such as “Come on, baby” and “Stick with me, baby”.

Despite a few good moments, by the end of the film I felt that the title pretty much summed up my experience.

Rating: 5/10

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