Review By Tyler
There are time travel movies and then there are movies with time travel. ‘I’ll Follow You Down’ is an example of the latter, which spends more time dealing with setting up backstory and laying moral foundations than actual time travel. While it does manage to do a decent job when it addresses how the phenomenon works, it mainly muddles through by phoning it in, and occasionally drifting into the realm of confusing and faux intelligentsia jargon.
The film revolves around Erol (Hailey Joel Osment) and the search for the truth about what happened to his father (Rufus Sewell) who disappeared mysteriously around a decade prior. When he discovers the possibility that his father created a wormhole and traveled back in time, he undertakes the difficult task of attempting to recreate the experiment with the hope that the past can be restored. Erol’s want of bringing his father back is complicated by the fact that in doing so he is jeopardizing his current relationship with his childhood sweetheart Grace (Susanna Fournier). There is no guarantee that things that exist in his current timeline will be the same if he brings his father back.
The plot uses the misfortunes and untimely deaths of people in Erol’s life as a motivating device for him to pursue his father’s work, but after awhile it begins to feel overused and too convenient an excuse. There is an omnipresent philosophical element to the film that constantly rages against questions over the meaning of life, how people become who they are, and the place of science in the world, among others. Such topics attempt to add a layer of depth to the film, but they largely just make the movie seem preachy. It is equally frustrating by the end of the film, when after raising so many thought-provoking questions it punts on any resolution or firm stance.
Hailey Joel Osment does an outstanding job as Erol, even managing to steal scenes from both Rufus Sewell and Gillian Anderson. The strong acting from the cast does a lot to carry the film, but even with such great performances there just seems to be something missing. There is a lot of build up to time travel in the film, but once that pivotal scene is reached the rest of the film feels like a let down. While there is a nearly unpredictable climactic twist that does a lot to salvage the movie, it still feels like a deflated ending.
‘I’ll Follow You Down’ is a decent movie that just feels lopsided. The payoff of the climax is good upon reflection, but the film ends rather abruptly leaving you with an unsatisfied feeling and burdened with most of the questions raised in the film’s first half. There are certainly better movies involving time travel, though there is enough unique and interesting material here to warrant giving it a watch.