Note to Self: Try Not to Kill Boyfriend Today

06/08/2011 4:00 AM |

Directed by Mia Trachinger

Some mornings you wake up and think about all the bad things that could happen, but Eva (Leslie Silva) actually knows what will happen—and today is looking to be a particularly bad day. As Reversion begins, Eva wakes up and looks in the mirror. We hear her thoughts in a voice-over: “I am not a mutant. I am not a victim. I will see time happening single file. Not the past, present, future all mashed up together. I will put my life in order. I will not know what’s happening next.” What she sees is herself killing her boyfriend, Marcus (Jason Olive). Her goal today: avoid killing Marcus. Should be simple enough, just don’t pull the trigger. But, as Eva finds out, fate is harder to avoid than it seems.

Despite the seeming clarity of its premise, though, Reversion actually feels rather unfocused and half-baked. Directed and written by Mia Trachinger, whose previous feature Bunny garnered a couple Independent Spirit Award-nominations (including Best Feature), Reversion suffers from being inarticulate and overly sparing with the details. The setting is an LA that looks and feels like the present day, but crime is rampant, no one blinks an eye when Eva makes a PB&J in the grocery store without paying, and mobs of civilizations tackle an armed mugger like pros. But what of Eva’s “mutant” status (hinted at in the opening monologue) and her ability to see into the future? Her condition is presented matter-of-factly, but other than a gimmicky, epileptic editing pattern (red-tinted shots and fast, jerky cuts) the film never really explores the concept to its full potential.

Reversion’s script manages to be both vague and cryptic yet still obvious at the same time. Characters constantly talk around their subject matter without addressing it directly. The result is dialogue such as, “How do you know you’re gonna find it?” “You know I’m gonna find it,” and “Yeah, ok, but how do you know that’s a good thing?” The film tries to be mysterious by not giving audiences definitive answers, a risky choice that can backfire by alienating viewers.

The saving graces of the film are its two leads, Leslie Silva and Jason Olive. The duo have an understated charisma as they crisscross Los Angeles, jacking cars, talking to surfer beach mystics and trying to outrun fate. They’re undeniably cool and tough, but it never seems too showy. And though the film’s dialogue is at times loopy and convoluted, Silva and Olvie play it straight, and their strong performances bring both credibility and life to Reversion.

Opens June 10 at the rerun Gastropub Theater