History has a way of repeating — and repeating — itself in “Infinity Chamber,” a claustrophobic, dystopian sci-fi thriller that plays “Memento”/“Groundhog Day” mind games to ponderous effect.
Waking up to find himself detained in a subterranean, fully-automated high-security prison, Frank Lerner (Christopher Soren Kelly) maintains they’ve got the wrong guy, but the only entity he can complain to is a robotic security camera named Howard (voiced by Jesse D. Arrow with HAL-like inflection), whose primary purpose is to keep Frank alive.
Although physically constrained, Frank discovers that while replaying in his mind the events that brought him to this coldly antiseptic place, he has the ability to partially alter fragments of alternate reality, especially those involving a sympathetic coffee barista named Gabby (Cassandra Clark).
Despite the obvious influences, filmmaker Travis Milloy utilizes the minimal locations to initially intriguing effect, forcing cinematographer Jason Nolte to come up with interesting angles to capture Frank in his steely, metallic confines.
But ultimately the overlong film falls prey to those self-imposed limitations, unable to find sufficiently compelling places to take its central character despite the best efforts of Kelly, who remains on camera, often in close-up, for the duration.
“Infinity Chamber” (renamed from the original “Somnio”) may accurately convey the oppressive perpetuity of its title, but all that repetition in the absence of more inspired plotting results in a payoff that feels inescapably contrived.
Running time: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood