Reviewed by: JimmyO
Alec Joler and Ethan Shaftel
What's it about
After a tragic automobile accident leaves a middle-aged man a widow, he finds he has the power to stop time with the help of a video camera (seriously). Drawn to the power, he also becomes infatuated to the woman who’s husband died in the accident. He soon finds himself unable to control his obsession for her.
Is it good movie?
Alec Joler and Ethan Shaftel have created an offbeat and surprisingly inventive tale of loss. Whether it is loss of family, loved ones, or time itself, it is all covered here. This independent feature offers up a few creative visual effects as the idea of stopping time is expressed throughout the film… often. It all begins when a family is involved in an accident. But the father, Daniel (Scott Cordes) is able to step away and see the aftermath of the accident. But it is somehow suspended in time, as the two cars linger and everything that had been thrown about during impact has come to a halt. This includes the video camera which Daniel’s son was using. In mid-air, everything is silent, everything is still. And soon, Daniel finds himself in a hospital with a doctor telling him of the tragic news. He is the only one who survived.
The story goes forward as he tries to heal. But he has a difficult time, especially after he finds the camera has somehow managed to have the ability to stop time. He is fascinated by this, especially since he is able to collect money and do other mischievous things with the camera on pause. Because once he presses that button, time seems to stop. How you may ask? I have no idea, and the screenplay didn’t feel the need to fill us in on that fact. But soon, Daniel finds himself connected to the wife of the other vehicle. Sarah (Annie Tedesco) is also trying to start over, but she is being threatened his insurance company because she and her husband didn’t have insurance. Daniel makes the decision to end it so that Sarah can have piece of mind. Yet he soon finds that he is falling in love with her, and with his sudden power with the video camera, he can do things that may help her. But the problem is, every time he stops time, she remains somewhere in limbo as she remembers bits and pieces of what happens when the pause button is pressed.
While I truly enjoyed this film, I did find that it spent a bit too much time on the discovery of power. Whether it be throwing tennis balls only to see them suspended, or going to a park and watching everyone stop in their tracks, it felt a bit too long. But I have to admit, the car crash and a few other visual tricks were very impressive, especially considering the budget. But after awhile, I really wanted to move on. As for the cast, I was impressed at how well they carried themselves. Scott Cordes is quite good as the man who must pieces his life together only to find himself obsessed and unable to control his urge to manipulate time. He has this “this is not my office” look which worked for the character. It was also nice to see an average, older man in the leading role. And as for Annie Tedesco, I really liked her performance. I felt that she was the most layered and interesting character in the film. But most of the performances were good enough to keep me involved.
Video / Audio
Since this was a screener copy, I’m not sure of what this aspect ratio and all that other fun info. But I would say, Dolby Digital 2.0 and a 1.85:1 transfer. Either way it looked and sounded pretty good.
Wow, a screener with extras. They include a Commentary with Alec Joler and Ethan Shaftel which I found to be very interesting. It is a mostly positive take on the film, and they keep it going very nicely for the most part.
Making the Visual Effects (13:09) which is a very good look at how they created the nifty car crash and such. Most of it worked really well, aside from one shot over a freeway which didn’t work. But I liked how they explained what they were trying to do, and how, for the most part they succeed.
There are a handful of Deleted Scenes (7:45) with bonus commentary from the writer/directors. The scenes include “Sarah and Josh Date”, “Daniel and Leo Sequence” and “Parents”. I can see why these scenes were removed, the really were unnecessary in the context of the film.
Suspension is an interesting take on the ability to stop time, and the power that can come with it. I liked that it was surrounded in loss and tragedy, it made it all the more touching. And while it wasn’t as powerful as it could have been as it took a bit too much time exploring the video cameras ability. But for the most part, it is a very well done film. This is a compelling idea with some good performances and an interesting take on a formulaic idea. Although if you like your sci fi with a few answers as to the why, you won’t find that here. But if you are looking for a intriguing little independent thriller, I recommend the suspension of disbelief in Suspension.