Saturday, August 06, 2016


The urge to support the underdog and the home product can lend a rose tint to reviewing a Wellington zero budget film. Hayden Weal worked with a small cast (taking the lead role himself) and smaller crew; and makes his audience work a little harder than most directors to follow half a dozen story threads and some time travelling. But it is worth the effort as he brings all the story threads together and binds them into a satisfactory conclusion.

Initially the story feels like a directionless mess, rather like its slacker protagonist's life. But gradually the various story elements come together as Dan starts to take control. The supporting cast is divided into those that act like they exist to further the plot and those that act like bystanders that Dan has some how irritated. This adds a degree of realism often missing from other films.

Dan lives a quiet life. He works making coffee in a cafe and spends the rest of the day alone at home or running the streets of Wellington while listening to music on his headphones. Then one morning he wakes to find a confusing message written on the inside of his bedroom window. This leads him out of the rut his life has become and he discovers other people who are living lives that resemble his in one way or another. He sets out on a mission of sorts and he learns that messing with other people's lives has good and bad consequences.

Chronesthesia is, more or less, the idea that some people can remember the future (a sort of mental time travel).

Compared with other Wellington made films this one is well acted, tells a slightly unusual but simple story in an interesting way with (mostly) believable characters.  Wellingtonians can try to identify all the locations in this almost entirely outdoor film.  I hope to see it come back after the Film Festival as it deserves a similar audience to What We Do In the Shadows.

Ian's rating 4/5 Anne's rating 4/5

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