Cinema Recall Podcast Interviews Travis Milloy and Reviews ‘Infinity Chamber’
Travis Milloy is an independent filmmaker whose latest movie, Infinity Chamber, is now in wide release. We caught up with him (again) for a talk about the film, this time with Cinema Recall.
TRANSCRIPT OF ‘INFINITY CHAMBER’ REVIEW: The Infinity Chamber is a 2016 Sci-Fi Thriller about a man who is wrongfully imprisoned in an automated cell. With only an AI unit as his only friend, our hero must repeat the same memory over and over until he finds a way to escape. Being accused of a crime you didn’t commit is pretty scary. Being trapped in a cell where the only thing you have to communicate with a computer program is also scary. I have a fear of being trapped in enclosed environments so that’s why it is on this post of Terror Tuesdays.
Writer and Director Travis Milloy wrote the script after reading about an automated prison. With our heavy reliance on internet and everything being readily available. This concept isn’t far from reality. We can buy most everything without needing an actual person. Most of our food will be made without the need for humans. So who is to say we won’t have an auto system to quickly evoke justice. I know it will be a long time, but it could still be plausible.
Right from when the film opens till when it ends. We are seeing everything from our lead character’s perspective. If you are confused as to why he was arrested and put. away It’s OK, he is too. When the story began to show flashbacks of his life. I really thought we would get a slow reveal as to why he was captured. Not having any idea that he would have to repeat his events. Putting you the viewer into the same confused mind space as our hero.
Telling a story that is set in just a few locations with basically one cast member is quite a challenging feat but Christopher Soren Kelly delivers. I really enjoyed and praised his performance as Frank in this. I liked that he slowly becomes unhinged as the story progresses instead of making him act all crazy at the start. It would have been easy to just have this character begin breaking things right away and I’m glad it hold back on this for a while. It’s a very nuanced performance but it works wonderfully.
Now a good protagonist is only as good as his antagonist and The Infinity Chamber has a good one with Howard (Jesse D Arrow). A computer program who is there to make sure our lead stays alive. Feeding him a series of nutrients and playing him music. There were moments in his performance that made me think he was actually a live human being. There were others where it felt like he was becoming an actual being who is aware of his environment. Becoming more alive than before.
In his memory Frank keeps visiting this coffee shop and visits with the waitress Gabby (Cassandra Clark) She is a key character because she is the last person Frank communicates with before he is captured. As the movie progresses, my opinions of this character varied. She is someone that you want to trust and to help our hero escape. But since this is all memories that this cell is showing Frank. It becomes more and more difficult to decipher if she is actually there to help or not.
The whole time loop plot element works good in the context of the story because memories are something that can be manipulated. What Frank sees as a wrongful imprisonment may not be correct, but since we are seeing everything from his perspective. It’s hard to judge what is false and what is true. So before anyone says it first. This is not a rip off of Groundhog Day, Edge of Tomorrow, Happy Death Day, etc, etc. The reason why it is not is because in those movies that element was used as the main plot of the story. In The Infinity Chamber, it’s used more as an accessory. For example; In Run Lola Run, the main plot is about this girl who needs to get money to her boyfriend before the gangsters do. Showing her repeat the events is not what the story is about. You see my point. Plus this is a movie that rewards from multiple viewings because each time the memory is shown, we get new bits of information. I know there is a lot that I missed when I first watched it.
If I had to nitpick anything in this, and it’s a small nitpick at that, The Infinity Chamber at times runs a little too long. Trim back a few of the moments of Frank with Gabby and it would be a perfect length. I’m not saying remove the whole scene just trim back a few lines from their conversation. Like I said, it’s a small nitpick from an otherwise good movie. If you are into science fiction films that are a bit cerebral. I highly recommend seeing The Infinity Chamber. It reminds me of the best of Ex Machina, Moon, Primer, Her, and more.