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October 20, 2014

Movie Review: I'll Follow You Down (2013)

I admit it. I loved The Sixth Sense. I loved that adorable little scamp, Haley Joel, as he muddled through his little life scared shitless of all the ghosts he could see. And though HJ has a TON of work on his resume, I’ve only seen him in 2 movies. Maybe my subconscious could see that he was basically a one-trick pony. 

I’ll Follow You Down is about Gabe, a scientist, with a loving wife, Marika, and an adoring son, Erol. Gabe heads out to Princeton for a conference but doesn’t return after the planned three days. Marika enlists the help of her father, Sal (another scientist), to find Gabe. Sal hacks into Gabe’s computer, investigates a secret research room filled with crates labeled “A. Einstein”, and discovers Gabe’s wallet and phone tucked away in a desk.

Not a good sign.

12 years later, Gabe is still gone. Erol is a young man studying theoretical physics in college and Marika is a fucking wreck. She’s never been able to ‘get over’ Gabe’s disappearance and barely makes it through each day. Sal, in all this time, has been studying Gabe’s notes and discovers something shocking: Gabe was working on time travel and may have actually succeeded in traveling back to 1946.

But what happened to him? Why didn’t he make it back home? After joining his grandfather in cracking the time travel code, Erol realizes he must follow his father back to 1946 and set the time line right. You see, since his father’s disappearance, everyone affected by it has been living in an altered time line. And it’s not all candy canes and Skittles-shitting unicorns.

So the question is can Erol set things right or will he fuck everything up even worse?

I see dead careers.
I don’t really want to give out much more description that what’s above (which I tend to do) because there are a lot of ‘little moments’ that hint at what’s really happening, not to mention a giant HOLY FUCK at the end. Most time travel movies are set up like this. When you go back and watch them a second or third time, you can see the set ups and foreshadowing and all that crap. So to give you too much info kinda ruins the feel of the flick.

And there are a ton of feelz in this movie. I cried a lot while watching it. The basic premise of love and loss and what would you do if you could go back and fix things or make them right? I actually think about those kinds of things all the time. And at the end, as Erol tries to explain to his father what happened to those left behind, I was literally sobbing like a 5 year old who didn’t get a peeing AND pooping dolly for Christmas.

Despite what you think, this is NOT a porno so don't expect me to get nekkid.

Despite my lack of interest in Haley Joel’s acting abilities, everyone else in this movie was fantastic. Vic Garber, as Sal, is so determined to understand Gabe’s research. Rufus Sewel (though he’s only in it for about 20 minutes), as Gabe, is fanatical in his scientific pursuits and devotion to family. But it’s Gillian Anderson who steals every scene. It’s agonizing to watch her, as Marika, as she tries to simply put one foot in front of the other and just survive each day without the love of her life, her mind filled with so many questions and doubts.

I loved that once Erol went to find his father, we got to see exactly what happened to Gabe when he traveled to 1946. The interaction between him and Erol, once he knows the young man talking to him is his son, is both heartbreaking and so damned frustrating.

Not a perfect film but the possibilities presented to us, the changes in time lines and how to fix them, and setting up safeguards to keep the same mistakes from happening again, are incredibly appealing to me. I also love emotional films that not only pluck my heartstrings but attempt to rip them out and garrote me with them.

3 Hatchets (out of 5

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