Trying to straddle the space between “Primer,” “Dark City” and “Memento,” “7 Splinters in Time” ends up a frustrating trip to no man’s land. Despite an ambitious premise and style, the neo-noir sci-fi indie is a fractured narrative that can’t achieve what its lofty ideas intend.
Darius Lefaux (Edoardo Ballerini) is a detective on leave in a city that’s both retro and futuristic, but he’s called back to investigate the murder of a man who is his double. Though his memory is fragmented, Darius realizes there are multiple versions of himself created after he traveled through time, and someone is targeting each of them for death.
As all the versions of Darius, Ballerini is too bland and blank to hold our attention, and he fails to ground the film with any emotion. Instead, “7 Splinters in Time” tries to be an intellectual exercise, quoting T.S. Eliot, James Joyce and Søren Kierkegaard. When it employs original dialogue, the messy results sound like a stronger script was put through a blender and blindly reassembled.
Writer-director Gabriel Judet-Weinshel better executes the film’s dark visuals and intentionally disconcerting tone, employing a style that wants to echo the dystopias of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Terry Gilliam and the Wachowski sisters. But all these thoughts, ideas and images overwhelm, resulting in a pretentious jumble of a film with none of the pleasures of its influences.
‘7 Splinters in Time’
Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills