Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

At a time when science-fiction in films often means technology and effects instead of ideas, it's refreshing to discover a clever little gem like Hilary Brougher's The Sticky Fingers Of Time, which nimbly scrambles periods and identities on a minuscule budget. An existential thriller with nods to dimestore pulp and old-fashioned H-bomb paranoia, the film's circular story opens in 1953, as New York crime novelist Terumi Matthews steps out for coffee and winds up mysteriously transported to 1997. Once there, she collides with doppelganger Nicole Zaray and '50s science columnist James Urbaniak (Henry Fool), fellow "time freaks" who share a genetic soul mutation that zips them through time spontaneously. Ruptured not only into past, present, and future, but also into "what could have been and what yet could be," their existence is malleable and full of incidents beyond their knowledge or control, including murder. Because its characters spend so much time struggling to account for their disorientation, The Sticky Fingers Of Time occasionally comes across as stilted and wordy, flaws aggravated by the one-take performances. But for the most part, Brougher exploits her no-frills production to inventive effect, toying with the funny cultural anachronisms and scientific paradoxes that spring naturally from her story. Since the medium itself is unbound by the continuous march of time (though more conventional films would have you believe otherwise), her "non-linear" characters can be bandied about from one period to the next at the low price of an edit and a few minor changes in décor. Along with Darren Aronofsky's , The Sticky Fingers Of Time is proof that limited resources can still yield limitless possibilities.


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