Entertaining epic time travel romance.
by Nav Qateel
Time Traveller spans centuries and continents, and travels through time to 18th century India and into the future to tell a tale of treachery, betrayal, and love. Present-day marine archaeologist Jay Fennel (Josh Hartnett) who, following a diving accident while attempting to rescue his wife Laura (Tamsin Egerton), is left brain dead. While in a coma and on life-support, Fennel is transported to 1770’s India, where a young British captain (also Hartnett) embarks on a life-threatening mission and a romance with a beautiful female warrior (Bipasha Basu).
Double-Oscar-nominated director Roland Joffé, who most will remember for helming The Killing Fields, finally got to see his latest film released. Over the four years it took to make Time Traveller (previously titled The Lovers, and Singularity before that) the filmmakers had plenty of production problems after their Australian partner went bust. They’ve had to recast and do some reshooting when Neve Campbell dropped out, and was replaced with Tamsin Egerton. However, I would say the film was well worth the wait.
Josh Hartnett is in a double role here, playing American Jay Fennel and Scotsman Captain James Stewart. The story begins with Jay in a huge deep-sea suit, trying to recover a gold ring from the sea bed. When Jay fails to retrieve the ring due to dangerous rubble being in the way, the following morning wife Laura sneaks out early, leaving Jay sleeping, to try recovering the antique ring on her own. Of course, disaster strikes when Laura finds herself trapped under the rubble, and Jay has to rescue her without using any kind of suit. Now Jay’s in a coma which allows him to see into the past.
Jay is now James Stewart, a captain in the British army in 1770’s India. It’s here that most of the film is set and where all the romance and excitement is centered. Hartnett puts on a convincing Scots brogue while playing Captain Stewart. He strikes up a romance with the beautiful Tulaja (Bipasha Basu), a warrior who protects the queen. Captain Stewart is charged with transporting the queen across country so that she can be used as a hostage. What I liked about the romance between James and Tulaja, was the originality of it all. It was always doomed yet we hoped that somehow it would work out for the pair.
Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu held her own while performing with Hartnett, and coped well with the fight scenes when the film opened. In fact, the performances were very good across the board, as well they should be with the cast made up of well seasoned actors such as they were.
The cinematography was actually extremely good, with some clever tracking shots, particularly during the first act. And thanks to the Indian setting, the camera always had lots to look at. The set design was also good, as was the musical score. Aesthetically, Time Traveller really was a gorgeous film, whether it was the Indian setting, the ocean or a futuristic America. Because we spent most of our time in the past, there wasn’t a great deal needed to give a taste of a near future setting, thanks to the clever use of holographic equipment in the lab and hospital.
Roland Joffé has put together an enjoyable film that most should be pleased with. And aside from a few F-bombs being dropped, it’s suitable for all but the very young.
Time Traveller is being released by Content Media Corporation in the UK on 25 April 2016 on VOD and DVD