Like most folks, I love time travel flicks. I’ve seen many of the classics which explored the idea of moving through time, and I’ve even suffered my way through a handful of very dry artsy entries which tried very hard to put an intelligent, cerebral spin on what might happen if mankind were to find the means to venture into the past. Because these ideas have had much examination in the pop culture entertainment, it’s pretty hard to come up with anything Earth-shattered in terms of a bold, new take on the genre, but that shouldn’t keep a talented crew from giving it another go.
I’LL FOLLOW YOU DOWN gets an A for effort. It certainly knows what it wants to be. By the conclusion, however, I had more of a sense of déjà vu than I probably should’ve.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
From the product packaging: “An accomplished physicist mysteriously disappears on a business trip. Abandoned, his wife and son struggle to cope. Years later, now a young scientist himself, Erol uncovers papers, formulas, a machine, and a mind-bending possibility. But time travel is impossible. Isn’t it? Erol’s obsession to find his father and restore his family will throw him into the unknown and possibly threaten his life. What would you do to repair the past?”
When it comes to time travel, it’s always much more fun thematically to go into the past than it is to go to the future. I suppose that’s because there’s always that sense of danger that comes with intentionally or inadvertently tampering with events to the point wherein the future becomes undone; and that’s pretty much what territory gets covered in I’LL FOLLOW YOU DOWN. Here, Erol (played by Haley Joel Osment) who lost his physicist father toils away living a life he never wanted when, lo and behold, he finds out that dear ol’ dad in fact went back to the mid 1940’s with a particular agenda; while back there, he met with a tragedy. Now, Erol has to figure out not only how to recreate the trip but also how to save his father from certain doom, thereby resetting his life’s timeline and giving him a second chance at the family he never had.
So how disappointed was I to find a flick so centered on the theme of ‘second chances’ actually treaded ground already covered by other superior time travel films? I know what you’re thinking – “Well, there can only be so many films involving time travel” – and I suppose that’s a fair assessment. But when it seems like writer/director Richie Mehta simply pilfered all of the elements of yarns he liked and whipped them together into a serviceable screenplay he could call his own, then it might be time to – like Erol did – go back to the drawing board and get it right.
Performances are pretty solid for what the film is. Victor Garber shows up as Erol’s physicist/professor grandfather who kinda/sorta serves as Yoda to his grandson, giving him the right scrap of advice when he needs to hear it most. Looking as luminous as ever, Gillian Anderson gets great mileage out of a terribly underwritten role – the wife who feels jilted by the time-traveling hubby she thinks abandoned her and her child. Osment has grown up (and out!), but the fact that his eyes still have that child’s sparkle from time-to-time give him just the right edge to bring Erol to life … even if the script spoils all of that angst in an development plucked right from the pages of the daytime soap operas in the final reel.
Still, I’LL FOLLOW YOU DOWN probably won’t disappoint those of you intrigued by its premise. It’s exceedingly well made though tragically underwritten. Rather than pull of those heartstrings, you’ll likely feel just a minor twitch … and maybe some heartburn at the more predictable moments.
I’LL FOLLOW YOU DOWN (2013) is produced by Resolute Films and Entertainment, The Harold Greenburg Fund, and Telefilm. DVD distribution is being handled by the always reliable Well Go USA Entertainment. As for the technical specifications? It’s hard to nitpick the film in any estimation as it provided some extremely high quality sights and sounds from start to finish. Lastly, if you’re looking for special features all they were able to pony up was a ridiculously brief (12 minute) behind-the-scenes, some deleted scenes (nothing all that special), and the theatrical trailer; and that’s a disappointment.
RECOMMENDED. With its heart and soul in the right place most of the time, I’LL FOLLOW YOU DOWN tries really, really hard to hit only the good notes. It’s almost as if writer/director Mehta is crying out ‘please love this picture’ over and over again as he tries to muster such heart-tugging sentiments that have been previously mined in such films as TIME AFTER TIME, BACK TO THE FUTURE, and even the oft-maligned FREQUENCY. The best I can say is that it kept my interest, but once the credits started to roll I really didn’t think it was as grand as it could’ve been … mostly because so much of it had been seen before.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Well Go USA Entertainment provided me with a DVD copy of I’LL FOLLOW YOU DOWN by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops". … more