Directed by Mark Zampella Starring Katharina Daue, Steve McAllister, Ed Ericsson Indie Film Review by Phil Slatter
One Minute / 60 Seconds is a science fiction film wrapped up in a drama about a missing person. It’s an odd blend and not an entirely successful one, even if the script does possess some original ideas and thought-provoking discussions.
It opens with a lingering shot of the stars before panning down to the earth and then cutting to Danielle (Katharina Daue), seemingly randomly, standing on a beach. We soon learn she is looking for her brother Peter and meets Theo (Steve McAllister), a ‘Truth Seeker’ who is eager to point out that everything you think you know is wrong. Danielle soon gets to meet some of Theo’s fellow conspiracy theorists, many of whom knew Peter but are seemingly unknowing or deliberately un-forthcoming about his apparent disappearance.
The film loses its initial focus from thereon as Danielle becomes slightly sidelined in favour of discussions relating to irritating theories (the earth isn’t flat! JFK’s assassination was a conspiracy!) and some more thought-provoking ideas on the nature of belief, how we as humans think, and mass hysteria.
When we do come back to Danielle’s hunt for Peter, the story struggles to develop with some stilted acting not being helped by certain conversations being repeated almost verbatim. It feels unfocused, as if the filmmakers were unsure whether they wanted to make a film about life, the universe and everything, or a more conventional drama with science-fiction overtones. A key problem to our investment is that we never really wonder what has happened to Peter – we don’t know, but we’re not really made to care. What is required is more investment in the initial plot to keep us interested and then allowing the ideas to flow from within. Danielle seems to service, initially at least, as a plot device to introduce us to Theo and his cohorts in order for the film to then go off on its necessary tangents.
Come the final act of One Minute / 60 seconds, the script gains its focus to a degree and leads to a somewhat ambiguous ending that ties in to some of the science we’ve seen being discussed, even if the conspiracy theories appear somewhat irrelevant.
The music and understated nature of proceedings does at least tie it into the offbeat nature of the resolving plot although some shots linger a tad too long than is necessary.
It does evoke memories of Donnie Darko and Under the Skin which is evidence of ambitious and thought-provoking filmmaking at heart, but the end result is an indie film that has many ideas but that fails to have a significant enough central story to initially engage the viewer and thus earn our attention.