Monday, February 16, 2009

SOMEWHERE IN TIME (Jeanott Szwarc, 1980, USA) Richard Collier desperately bids for time’s return, his lost love reduced to an anachronistic penny worth only hopeless thoughts. Richard Matheson, better known for his novels I AM LEGEND and WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, adapts his own prose into film with French director Jeannot Szwarc: the result is a frustratingly rigid and straightforward narrative that dilutes the horrific essence of the source material. But a few dark elements remain, and herein beats the heart of the story because romance and tragedy walk hand in hand, the joy of love contrasted by the eventual death shroud that parts us from our soul mate, as we must then walk the world alone. Matheson redefines his character to accommodate Christopher Reeve’s strengths: he imbues Richard Collier with a healthy dose of humor and kindness and removes the obsessive possessiveness and tumorous dread that haunts the novel. He also replaces Mahler with Rachmaninoff, amending the death theme that runs its poisonous course through BID TIME RETURN. Jane Seymour as Elise McKenna is a beautifully rendered portrait of perfection, her diminutive stature incongruous with her fiery independence. She is also a victim of The Moirae as her love affair is cut short by Atropos’ fateful shears, her affair dwindling away into the recesses of future time. Her only memento a lovely pocket-watch that will be a gift to the future Richard Collier, which will ensure that he will “come back to her”. Though a flicker of doubt remains: did Richard actually transcend time, or did he starve to death, isolated in his own world of fantasy? The final scene could exist as a death dream, a wish fulfillment as his consciousness fades towards oblivion. But for romantics, it ‘s the perfect ending. (C)

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