A suicidal man is recruited by a team of scientists to test their time machine, which has previously only been tried on mice. A malfunction in the machine traps him in his past, where he is forced to relive fragmentary pieces of his memories in no discernible order…
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An excuse to shoot a story without any linearity. It lacks all the profound meditation on time and memory of "Hiroshima", "Marienbad" or "Muriel" ("Muriel" being one of Resnais' most underlooked and complex films). The ending has some sense of tragedy and the final shot has a powerful metaphorical resonance. That's about it.
Ah, Resnais once again plundering the mind-vault of an untapped literary resource (Jacques Sternberg, scenarist). T'was his thing. Canny of him. Anyhoo: we are dealing here w/ the most high-concept of ridiculous sci-fi conceits, and we are dealing w/ Resnais, so we are, by default, dealing in absurdity and melancholy. Cool. The power of the form makes forgivable the absurd machinations intended to make it palatable.
I liked the atmosphere of the movie and the puzzle you have to put together. But the only real problems I have with it is that the sci-fi factor, the traveling in time, doesn't change or influences the actually theme or story of the movie. If this element wouldn't be in the movie it could be shot in the same matter, showing glimses of memory. Except of the ending that is, but I still don't know what to think about it