The first opportunity I had to see +1 (AKA Plus One) was at last year’s SXSW. There was something about the description of the movie, possibly that it took place at a party and I hate parties, that diminished any sort of interest I had in it. I never really heard many opinions on the film throughout the festival, for good or for bad, and just kind of forgot about it. It wasn’t until later in the year that the film was released on VOD that I started seeing more people talk about it and it was generally positive. I even saw the movie pop up on some “Best of 2013” lists! Maybe this movie was better than I had assumed and I was an idiot for ignoring it? And there’s doppelganger shit in there?! I LOVE THAT SHIT! After watching the movie, I can confirm that yes, there is some doppelganger shit in here, along with plenty of other sci-fi shit, and unfortunately, +1 did a shit job with each element they tried to incorporate.
But Rhys Wakefield does look like a creep at all times, right?
High school sweethearts David (Rhys Wakefield) and Jill (Ashley Hinshaw) are going through some tough times, with David staying in his hometown after graduation while Jill goes off to college. They both attend a friend’s party, but each with different goals. Jill wants to move on from that relationship so she goes with a different guy, while David plans on winning Jill back. Before attending the party, we see a meteor crash and have some weird effect on nearby electrical wiring. When David finally catches up with Jill, he only angers her more. That’s when the power goes out and shit gets weird. David heads out after Jill, only to realize that once the power has come back on, he is a spectator of the party he is attending, only he is watching it from an earlier point in the evening. Two of his friends experience the same thing, and while trying to figure out what’s happening, the power flickers again and they notice another “time shift”, only this time they aren’t shifted as far back. These shifts in time are getting closer and closer to their “present”, and it’s David’s goal to find the past version of Jill to correct those mistakes. From there, things start getting more complicated, more nonsensical, and eventually everything is wrapped up in a way that’s intended to be satisfying while “mysterious” and “cool”, but rather shows the filmmakers forgot to write an ending for their movie.
Yeah this basically looks like every party I went to in college.
Although not a completely terrible movie, the way that the filmmakers had established the potential for a lot of really cool stuff and just completely blew it made this movie an incredibly frustrating experience. Unlike some of the more confusing/interesting/intelligent sci-fi movies involving doppelgangers/time travel, like Primer or Coherence, the tone of the whole thing felt more like your average high school comedy. The filmmakers seem to want to hedge their bets by including time travel, outer space shit and doppelgangers, but they never really gave rhyme of reason as to why ANY of this shit was happening. Remember how cool it was in Time Crimes when something would happen arbitrarily in the movie, then you’d find out that thing wasn’t arbitrary at all and was in fact the time-traveling protagonist having an impact on that timeline? This film had none of that. Later in the film when the original group of people realize the time shift, the earlier timeline versions of themselves keep being referred to as malevolent beings with ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. There’s no justification for why they are considered evil beings, but once it’s implied that they’re bad, that’s when the film makes the alternate timeline versions bad. That’s where the doppelganger elements of the movie start coming in and the alternate timeline characters just start hunting out the original timeline characters FOR NO FUCKING REASON. They’re just acting like dicks for no real reason. The outer space thing…who the fuck knows where they were going with that. These alternate timeline versions of people seems to have agendas of their own, so they keep implying they have independent will and have bad intentions. They are almost referred to as monsters or creatures or something, so the connection to the meteor landing seems to imply they could be creatures that came out of this rock? The shift in time also affects some characters before it affects others which implied, to me at least, that there was a fluid movement of whatever caused the time shift as opposed to happening across the entire universe to everyone in existence. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! I don’t want to completely spoil the movie for people, but there’s something I need to bring up, so consider this your:
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Towards the end of the film, the original timeline versions of characters kill off the alternate version characters. David does the opposite, where he kills the original timeline version of Jill, who is pissed at him and will never forgive him, and doesn’t harm the alternate timeline Jill. The film has one final power outage where the characters explain there’s only one version, but you’re not sure if the alternate timeline character took over, if the original timeline character took over, or if there was some fusion of the two. Why is this a problem? Well, characters have died in BOTH timelines, yet at the end of the movie, we see those characters living. If the alternate timeline characters took over, some of those guys are dead and the original timeline characters wouldn’t be there. Or if the original timeline characters survived, then Jill would still be dead and David would be a murderer. Or are the characters who died in one timeline and not the other have fused together to be some weird half dead monster? FUCK YOU AND YOUR FLAWS IN POOR LOGIC.
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Sorry, I just had to get that out. The whole movie felt like there were a handful of cool ideas and rather than fleshing out one theme, they just threw everything in there that they could. This didn’t feel like a narrative choice of leaving the answers in the eyes of the viewer, but instead the whole thing felt really indecisive. The somewhat comedic tone also gave me the impression of a lack of maturity on the film’s part which only added to the lack of direction. MORE LIKE “MINUS ONE”, AM I RIGHT?!
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