September 11, 2023

APORIA: Small Film, Big Ideas

APORIA (Blu-ray)
2023 / 104 min
Review by Stinky the Destroyer😺

Sometimes having no money can work to your advantage.

For example, Aporia is an unassuming sci-fi drama written and directed by Jared Moshé, who obviously isn’t working with deep pockets typically afforded the Spielbergs and Nolans of the world. Without those kinds of resources, you gotta rely strictly on your concept. But if it’s a good one, you don’t need a lot of whiz-bang spectacle.

The film puts an interesting spin on a familiar premise: The ramifications of altering history. Sophie (Judy Greer) hasn’t gotten over the death of her husband, Mal (Edi Gathegi), who was hit by a drunk driver the previous year. The tragedy has also affected her relationship with daughter Riley (Faithe Herman), the two growing increasingly estranged. Worse yet, the driver still hasn’t faced any consequences.

Then family friend Jabir (Payman Maadi) shows her a device he and Mal had been working on in his apartment. Though it looks like a discarded engine block, it’s actually a time machine, of sorts. It doesn’t allow someone to physically travel back in time, but Jabir informs her he can direct its energy to a specific moment in the past and kill someone...such as the drunk driver before he causes Mail’s death. There’s just one catch…once it’s done, it can’t be undone.

"If you want me to stay this time, that paneling has got to go."
Sophie is initially reluctant, but inevitably relents. Then just like that, Mal is back, unaware that he was killed a year earlier (though both Jabir and Sophie still remember losing him). However, killing the driver caused a ripple effect that has slightly altered the present (in ways that I won’t disclose, because those reveals are part of the fun). Mal, Sophie and Jabir argue over whether or not to use the machine again, especially after discovering how it adversely affected the life of the drunk driver’s family. Meanwhile, Jabir takes it upon himself to prevent a mass school shooting, altering things even further.

Utilizing no special effects, Aporia is a low-tech sci-fi drama built on an creative idea and engaging characters. We’ve seen movies that explore the Butterfly Effect before, but this one keeps it small and personal. While the fate of the world may never be at stake, it’s life-changing for the protagonists, all of whom are well-meaning and likable enough that we’re invested in how their fates are altered.

The film is given an additional boost from the performances. Greer, in particular, convincingly conveys Sophie’s sense of loss, as well as the joy of seeing her husband again when it should have been impossible. She is ultimately the main reason Aporia works on an emotional level, in addition to being a great example of thought provoking sci-fi on a limited budget.




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