The Movie Waffler New to VOD - TIME ADDICTS | The Movie Waffler


New to Cinemas - TIME ADDICTS
A pair of junkies discover a drug that allows them to travel through time.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Sam Odlum

Starring: Freya Tingley, Charles Grounds, Elise Jansen, Laura Wheelwright, Brendan Bacon

Time Addicts poster

What is it that separates you or I from the alcoholics, the junkies and the other lost souls compulsively mired in addiction? After all, we've both experienced hangovers, a toxic little warning that we've overstepped the mark and taken on more than we could successfully metabolise in one night, where the booze or whatever got the better of us. And despite pledging "never again," we DID do it again, possibly even the next week - that noxious missive conveniently forgotten. Yet, despite these missteps, we can ultimately take or leave it, and looking forward to a drink or other substances during the working week is just that: a "desire," and not the "need" which typifies addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse puts the illness of addiction down to factors such as "[experiencing] abuse, early exposure, stress, and parental guidance," but in my experience it is luck or lack of luck which is the major factor that demarcates the boundaries of use and abuse. What was initially a release, a way of making a drab world momentarily more colourful becomes, via chance, a trap itself for the unlucky few; a joyless loop of scoring, using, feeding the habit, rinse, repeat.

Time Addicts review

Take the hapless pair at the centre of Sam Odlum's lively debut Time Addicts, drug dependent Denise and Johnny (Freya Tingley and Charles Grounds), platonic mates who eke out the typically liminal existence of addicts. They hang out in the abandoned expanse of grey concrete car parks strewn with broken bottles and dry whippets, circling about on a push bike in their dirty jackets (the irl signifier of someone who has slipped off the edge: that ever-present smelly jacket), killing the stretch until the next fix, which in their case is crystal meth (it's not a competition but surely the most insidious of all drugs?). Time has different meaning for the addict: notwithstanding how chemicals affect the part of the brain known as the Shatner's Bassoon, there is the cruelly elastic stretch of space between being On Drugs and not. "It’s a bit weird, no life," Denise observes, before the two inevitably decide to angle for the next fix.

A side symptom of being an all-encompassed addict is that you must pay for the privilege, and it's not even that drugs are expensive, but when you look and behave like shit (That push bike? Stolen) it's difficult to obtain gainful employment. They're already in hock to local dealer Kane (Joshua Morton), a grim entrepreneur who intuitively grasps that there are other ways to pay and duly blackmails the two into robbing a local dive house on pain of losing their thumbs-! Problem is of course, once they've negotiated the grim suburban gothic of the flophouse and located the loot, upon inspection it turns out to be a big bag of lovely pink meth, glowing ruby in the squalor (a neat visual metaphor for the appeal of controlled substances).

Time Addicts review

Without a second's thought as to why Kane would send two card carrying junkies to retrieve a big trove of their drug of choice, the two make to sample the goods. And Johnny promptly disappears - not down the k-hole, but into thin air: the 1.21 gigawatts powered ice has only gone and sent him back in time! What follows as the pair smoke the meth and experience a trip which takes them across space and time for real is an intensely satisfying comedic time-travel film; a genre uniquely suited to the visual and narrative dynamics of cinema, a medium which is itself, after all, a manifestation of manipulated time and space. I can't spoil the clever, devastating temporal twists of the ensuing Möbius plot but suffice to say that as the storyline leaps back and forth along the chronology of the house, creating significance out of throwaway moments and subverting assumptions, Time Addicts is an absolute treat.

Like the pinpoint planning which characterises Time Addicts' structure, there was no accident in Kane sending our two yahoos to the house, and the previous owners may too be tied up with the lineage of some of our leads. It is de rigueur for time travel protagonists (protaggregatonists?) to meet future and past selves, but the hereditary connections and revelations at play here would make Marty McFly (even more) dizzy. Odlum manages the symbiotic, frantic narrative with a thrilling deftness - typing with it on in the background as a pleasing second viewing, through my headphones I can make out the dialogue of future scenes concurrently occurring in different parts of the house to the action unfolding onscreen! The attention to detail and the operational mischief is a delight.

Time Addicts review

Ok, perhaps the central motivation of the antagonist is a bit loose, but the emotional core provided by Tingley and Grounds (quantum) leaps over such a quibble: in their hapless thrall to "the tick," their agitated co-dependency and frantic profanity (as Australians they use swear words as lyrical punctuation – that's not racist as I have relations Down Under) Denise and Johnny feel real. And if the bittersweet ending of Time Addicts feels a little loose, then perhaps that too is in keeping with the unfulfilled lot of the addict, caught up in a loop which is far beyond their control and doomed to be unsatisfied.

Time Addicts is on UK/ROI VOD now.

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