Review: ‘Counter Clockwise’ Is A Dark, Mysterious, Sci-Fi Thrill Ride

Time travel can be a messy, complicated, and disorienting ordeal. Ethan (Michael Kopelow), a scientist working in a storage unit laboratory on a teleportation device with his partner Ceil (Alice Rietveld) and his one-eyed dog Charlie, is about to find that out in Counter Clockwise.

The film opens with Ethan and Ceil in the lab working ardently as they prep Charlie for a practical test in the teleporter. The scene focuses on the work being done with close-ups of fingers feverishly typing and shots of the system data and computer hardware kicking into gear. The timer counts down, 3… 2… 1… poof! Charlie vanishes from his platform, the test was successful. The scientist duo is perplexed when Charlie doesn’t appear on the second platform, even though the computer tracks him to still be there. A few hours later Ethan returns to the lab to find Charlie is back and decides to test the teleporter with a human subject, himself. Ethan steps on the platform and finds himself transported six months forward, where he’s a wanted fugitive. Confused and disoriented, he scrambles around the chaos of his grim future to find out what happens to him, his wife, and his sister after realizing his teleporter is actually a time machine.

Counter Clockwise starts off like many mad-scientist-in-his-garage sci-fi films, like Primer or Listening, then quickly turns into a dark action thriller as he’s thrown into a dangerous situation after next, each time learning a new piece of the puzzle unfolding in front of him. There’s a lot of weird and quirky elements that add to the film’s dark humor, mostly from the eccentric and bizarre cast of characters surrounding the seemingly level-headed scientist. The interactions with these atypical personalities add intensity to the already bewildering encounters.

The cinematography was spectacular, with an eclectic array of camera and editing techniques from a wide range of genres. Quick swish pans and pulled zooms to accentuate the action, dynamic lighting on extreme close-ups to emphasize the drama, and sliding wipe transitions gave it a science fiction comic feel. George Moïse employs an impressive utilization of cinematic and storytelling craft in making this film. A solid powerful story told in an exquisite and captivating execution.

Counter Clockwise is a dark, mysterious, sci-fi thrill ride. This is director George Moïse’s first feature, and he knocked it out of the park. He has directed multiple shorts over the past few years, so this isn’t his first rodeo. The cinematography is brilliant throughout the movie, using many inventive and creative cinematic techniques. Their lab has undertones of a 1980’s mad scientist’s, from the computer’s blue wire frame graphics to the beeps and boops in the background.

Counter Clockwise is now out on Blu-Ray and DVD from Artsploitation Films. Check out their official website. Also, check out their official Twitter for all the latest.