Barry's Time Travel Review Score
Time Lapse is a 2014 science-fiction, time-travel movie directed by Bradley King. This movie technically doesn’t have time-related glitches. Not big ones at least. Where it does have a problem is with each of the characters. The story is about 3 friends who live together. Finn (Matt O’Leary), his girlfriend Callie (Danielle Panabaker from Flash), and his best friend Jasper (George Finn, yeah Jasper’s real name is Finn). The three of them end up finding a machine in the house across which takes mysterious photos of their home. Mysterious because the photo is from the next day. Ya, the camera takes pictures of tomorrow. The movie is about how the three ordinary people go crazy within days of finding a machine that shows them their future. What makes it hard to believe is not the machine, it’s the fact that three regular fun-loving people transmogrify into completely different individuals in mere days. It’s hard to justify a transformation like that. Here are the plot analysis and the ending of the film Time Lapse explained.
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Time Lapse: Plot Explained
I’m going to explain the events of Time Lapse in a chronological fashion as it makes it easy to understand. Obviously, there is going to be a ton load of spoilers here on.
Finn is an artist who has a creative block. He’s unable to find his painter’s mojo. Finn and Callie have been having problems with their relationship. Finn is a little distant and Callie is not feeling the love. Callie wants to do something about it. So, Callie sleeps with Jasper while Finn sleeps on the couch. Finn really enjoys his beauty sleep like that. Callie and Jasper are drunk and get it on. What they don’t realize is there is a Mr.B whose time-camera is taking pictures of her naughtiness. This bit of the plot is revealed only towards the end. Jasper is a dude who’s into gambling and is a consistent loser.
Finn is an apartment manager and Mr.B from across hasn’t been paying rent for a couple of months. Finn sends Callie over to Mr.B’s house to check the scene out. Callie goes over to Mr.B’s and enters his place when there is no answer (that’s the ideal thing to do – break in when no one answers your knock). Callie sees the machine and the photos. She also sees the pictures that have been taken during her naughty with Jasper. From the pictures looks like she and Jasper have been naughty many times. She wants to hide this so she removes some of those pictures. She also figures that the machine is set to take pictures at 8AM and 8PM. But Callie figures that she can keep the 8AM part a secret because she sees a picture of herself from the following morning standing with notes that read – “Knock coat stand over. Hide last week’s day photos”. She decides to hide that 8AM information to pass messages secretly to herself.
What is Callie trying to do with the secret messaging to herself?
Callie figures that Finn is very distant and she wants to bring the spark back. That is what she wants from all of this. Very nice of her to not turn to the money and buy herself a new boyfriend. Callie sees her future self giving instructions at 8AM every morning. These instructions are to help her get Finn back close to her. That’s about it. Of course that’s not all what happens. I’ll come to that later, read on.
What has happened to Mr.B in Time Lapse?
Callie comes back and tells Finn and Jasper that she’s found their photos in Mr.B’s house. The 3 of them head over to Mr.B’s figure he’s a peeping tom and get back. They return to notice that the pictures are from a day ahead. B’s journal reads that he may have seen his own death and needs to change that future. What B’s journal is talking about is the last picture. This one:
What Mr.B notices is the blood and his hat (circled in red). He thinks he’s seen a crime scene of his own death. To ensure he doesn’t die as shown by the picture he aims to change the future. This he mentions in his journal. This picture is not shown to us at this point, it comes a lot later in the film. Mr.B does mail the picture out to Dr. Heidecker. A thing to note here is that this picture he sees and sends out is taken weeks into the future. Which means the machine can take photos more than a day into the future. But that fact doesn’t get used anywhere else other than for the picture that he sends Dr. Heidecker.
The 3 of them locate a room which contains the dead body of Mr.B. He seems to be burnt while his clothes are intact. The 3 conclude that this must be because Mr.B tried to change time.
What actually has happened is while trying to get material for his machine, Mr.B has dropped that helical item on a canister of thorium gas. Mr.B dies as the result of an accident. It has nothing to do with changing the future. Again, this information is not disclosed till later in the film.
Jasper loses it first
Jasper starts using Mr.B’s hat. Jasper suggests they should start using the camera to hold up the race results so they can bet on it and win. Jasper convinces the other two that they should wait and not call the cops. The next night they have a party and Finn confirms that the machine is doing what they think it is doing. The next pic Finn sees is the trio holding up the race results for the following day. Finn also notices there is a painting on the canvas, he’s happy that he can see what needs to paint and then painting it.
The next day, they decide to not report the dead corpse and go ahead with whatever the photos show. Jasper bets and wins the race, gets money. Finn paints the painting from the photo. They go on to pose with the race winnings. Days pass and they continue posing with the race results for the camera. They bet on the races and start winning big. The picture that happens next is with Callie and Jasper kissing. This one:
The trio are confused how it ends up happening but go ahead with the kissing anyways because they don’t want to break the pattern of the future. They believe that if they don’t follow through they are going to end up dead like Mr.B. Here’s what we don’t know as viewers at this point. The next morning Callie gets the 8AM picture that reads “Kiss Jasper for too long”. So when 8PM arrives, she follows that instruction and stretches out the kiss. She is rewarded with Finn getting jealous. Hmm, she’s smart that way, very smart.
The next snap has Jasper sitting with his bookie, Ivan, in their apartment. So now they figure they are in for some trouble. Jasper calls Ivan and results in Ivan showing up. Finn decides to leave as he’s not in the photo. Callie joins him. Again Callie follows Finn because Callie has a morning message from herself saying “Go with Finn to the car”. Ivan shows up at the house. Obviously he does, what kind of idiots bet non-stop without losing? Jasper is forced to say that he has a source and Ivan can ride his bets.
The next photo has Finn painting Callie Titanic style with a silhouette of Jasper peeping. Callie is pissed. Ivan leaves. The next day arrives, Callie decides to pose, Finn asks Jasper to leave. Callie has already received a message at 8AM saying – “Pose for Finn”. She follows through. Finn expresses how beautiful Callie is. Callie’s secret 8AM plan seems to be working. Finn is getting back to her. Just then they realize that the silhouette is not Jasper’s but Ivan’s. Ivan and his goon find out about the machine. Ivan threatens Jasper to follow his simple instructions – post the race results day on day. Ivan takes away the photo too, so Finn can’t see a painting. Ivan is a genius of his own kind. Finn is pissed he can’t paint anymore.
The next snap that comes out the following day, Jasper takes a copy of it on his phone. When they look into the phone they see a skull, some sort of a warning. So Jasper prepares to kill Ivan’s goon. Joe, the apartment security, tells Finn that he’s become a cop. Later Ivan and goon are questioning the trio about their connection with Joe. Jasper lies to Ivan saying his goon will kill him the next day. Jasper tricks the goon to reposition himself and stabs him to death. Ivan comes back and Jasper bludgeons him to death. They clean up. The next picture shows Jasper sitting with a ton of money. Jasper figures it’s Ivan’s money. Callie receives her morning message 8AM saying – “Don’t forgive Finn”. This is again to make Finn feel a greater desire to fight for Callie. She’s on her own trip. See this is what I was talking about, two people have been murdered in the apartment by her friend and roommate. Callie is still only worried about her relationship gaps with Finn. She’s upset with the blood on her face because she gets a message about it from her future self, not because, you know, BLOOD on her face!
Time Lapse: Dr. Heidecker
Dr. Heidecker (the lady from the answering machine) pays the trio a visit and pulls a gun on them and makes them reveal the truth. They take her to the machine and show her Mr.B too. Dr. Heidecker shows them the photo she was sent. She also tells them that time didn’t kill Mr.B, the cannister of thorium did. Knowing that Dr. Heidecker is of no real use to them Jasper kills her with Ivan’s gun.
Jasper, a normal guy, an asshole perhaps, but a regular bum just becomes an ice cold killer over few days. He now knows how to kill like a pro – knife, baseball bat, gun, you name it. The other two are also not very concerned that their roommate and friend is comfortably killing people at random.
Now Kill Jasper
As Jasper decides to pose for his next pic with the money, Callie offers to go to the camera and help him get it perfect. Callie has already received a message at 8AM asking herself to swap out the day’s picture with the one that shows her making out with Jasper. Apparently in spite of the increasing body count, she still cares only about her relationship issues. Her message to herself reads “Swap photo to charades night. Kill Jasper to save Finn”. Her message to herself is to KILL her roommate, like that’s a normal thing right? But unperturbed, she goes ahead with the instructions. She swaps out the image to this one:
Callie Gets Caught
When the three meet and see the photo. Callie knows it’s an old photo but Finn and Jasper don’t. Finn wants to leave, Jasper knocks Finn out and throws him in with dead Mr.B. Finn gets out. Takes a bucket of water and threatens Jasper. The two fight, Jasper’s about to kill Finn. Callie kills Jasper as instructed. Callie puts Finn to rest and comes to put the message for the 8AM photo. Finn catches Callie and makes her explain what she’s been doing and how she has swapped the pics. Finn finally gives up and decides to leave.
Time Lapse: Ending Explained
The ending of Time Lapse shows us that Callie has a plan. She wants to put up a message saying “Don’t get caught at the window”. That way she won’t get caught and everything would be hunky dory. Basically she’s trying to say, hey, let me go back and cheat on you so that you won’t catch me cheating on you. Finn, who may be the only averagely sane person, wants to walk out on all of this. But no, Callie now pulls a gun on Finn. She still strongly feels that this mess can be reverted. Note : the mess she is is looking to revert is not the killing of Jasper, her roommate or the other dead people; she is looking to only revert her being caught by Finn. Finn still leaves, or tires to. Callie shoots Finn because, you know, if you are going to change time, might as well kill the boyfriend you are trying to change time for. Anyway there are enough dead people in the house.
Callie puts a message on the window for 8AM. The message reads “Don’t get caught at the window. Just as she’s waiting for the camera to go out. Joe the cop shows up and asks her to open the door. He finds people dead in the hall so he takes Callie away. Callie leaves peacefully because she thinks the message is going to save her. This is Predestination, the causal loop has already occurred, it can’t be changed. The message is not stuck properly and the tape gives way and the message falls. Callie tries to run back to stick the message back on but Joe drags her away. The camera takes its 8AM snap and before the image develops, it cuts to black.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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