Directed by: Dan Sheldon
Cast: Daniel Bonjour, Anne Clare Lush, Jerry Hoffman, Marshal Hilton
Dan Sheldon’s latest picture, Fate proves a few different things. First, it proves that Hollywood A-listers aren’t required to make an enjoyable film (in theory, we should all know this by now). And second, it proves that sometimes ideas are so big and ambitious that the only way to do them the justice they genuinely deserve, is to have a few more bucks in the cache. In other words, yes, Fate is a fine film, but by God it could have been a truly terrific film with a few adjustments and another million dollars to toy with.
As for the story, it’s a time traveling piece that sees a young, driven professor Hughes making strides on developing a time machine. One simple hiccup however – a kiss from his assistant – changes his life in a dramatic way, as it is witnessed by his fiancé, who shows up at his job to surprise him, and that ignites a stick of dynamite that all the time travel in the world can’t seem to fix. What’s the professor do? He tries to make things right (he wasn’t into that kiss from his assistant, by the way – it’s more of a shock to him as she engages), as he risks life and limb to travel back in time and alter history, no matter the cost.
There are a few plot details that I wasn’t crazy about. They aren’t astronomically huge blunders, but they’re noticeable (I’m not going to point them out in the chance that you may be fortunate enough to miss them), and they leave the viewer with the impression that the script could’ve been tightened up just a tad. These issues may annoy viewers, but it isn’t likely that anyone will deem them outright deal-breakers for the picture as a whole.
Daniel Bonjour (who did a great job in one of the better super-low budget indie slashers out there, Midnight Movie) fronts the cast and he does a good job of being a heart broken and deeply conflicted man rapidly slipping toward the end of his rope. Relative unknown, Jerry Hoffman brings a believable wisdom to the film, and although she has some wooden moments, Anne Clare Lush gives a spirited attempt at a strong performance as the unlucky fiancé. There are a few other bit-players that handle themselves well, but it’s this trio that stands out.
I didn’t love Fate, but I sure as hell didn’t hate it, either. The story is just so big that a larger budget was needed in a big way. It would’ve improved the set designs, it would’ve improved the special effects (which aren’t bad, they’re just minimal) and it may have allowed Sheldon the chance to bring aboard at least one genre familiar – A-lister or not – to help in the promotion and marketing of the flick. That said, working with what he was working with, Sheldon managed to deliver a feisty little film that places emphasis on character over conflict. For an intimate tale like this (at its core, it is most certainly about mankind, our flaws and our determination to evolve as human beings as opposed to just some familiar time travel), that’s the best course to take.
Give Fate a chance. Anticipate a limited production, but give it the chance it deserves, because it has heart and it’s an interesting piece that does succeed in holding the attention.