Heady, lo-fi sci-fi/drama boasts impressive performances.
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Sometimes sci-fi can move beyond genre trappings to tell us something about ourselves. “Aporia” (now on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD) is one such movie.
Nurse Sophie (Judy Greer) is struggling after losing her husband Mal (Edi Gathegi) at the hands of drunk driver Darby (Adam O’Byrne). Sophie’s teenage daughter Riley (Faithe Herman) is acting out and wants little to do with her mother.
Mal and his physicist friend Jabir (Payman Maadi, “A Separation”) had been tinkering with a time travel device prior to Mal’s passing. The machine – which looks like a car engine attached to a laptop – won’t allow its user to travel through time, but it does afford them the opportunity to alter the past.
Jabir suggests to Sophie that they kill Darby in the past to bring Mal back to the present. Sophie reluctantly agrees and they succeed at their aim – Mal’s alive and Darby’s dead.
Sophie and Jabir’s actions have consequences however … negative ones that have been afflicted upon Darby’s widow Kara (Whitney Morgan Cox) and daughter Aggie (Veda Cienfuegos). Sophie seeks to right these wrongs by any means possible.
As written and directed by Jared Moshé (“The Ballad of Lefty Brown”), “Aporia” is heady, lo-fi sci-fi. Much of its runtime consists of debates between Sophie, Mal and Jabir concerning the ethics and morality of their deeds.
All three actors impress, but it’s Greer who anchors the proceedings. Best known as a comedic actress (she’s given truly inspired performances on “Arrested Development” and FX’s “Archer”), Greer was given the opportunity to flex more dramatic muscles in David Gordon Green’s recent “Halloween” flicks. She pushes these skills even further here by expertly playing both the agony and ecstasy of Sophie’s situation.
“Aporia” occasionally lapses too deeply into preciousness (especially when dealing with its child characters), which makes the movie sometimes ring hollow. In spite of this, a lot of the film works. It has solid acting, a few surprises and plenty of emotional resonance. Its open-ended conclusion may frustrate some viewers, but I feel as though Moshé and his collaborators earned it.