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average rating is 2 out of 5


William Hemingway


Posted on:

Mar 10, 2024

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Nitish Kumar
Written by:
Balasurya Shanmugasundaram
Nitish Shankar, Shankar Kumar, K. Bhuvana

It’s 7 ‘o’ clock in the morning on the 7th September and Abhimanyu’s (Shankar) alarm has just gone off. He seems a little bit lacklustre and unmotivated as he gets himself up, ready to face the day, and the indifference he feels towards life and the world is written all over his face. We watch as Abhimanyu continues to plod through his daily routine with severe disinterest, as his Mum (Bhuvana) serves him breakfast, he has a shower, he listens to the radio and looks at what’s on TV and eventually he settles himself down to study some pretty complicated looking maths. During this time Abhimanyu gets distracted by a cat outside, as he ponders the futility of his existence, and he talks to us in the form of a voiceover – a recording on his phone which he diarises every evening – which includes a lot of talk about the repetition and mundanity of living. Not until the next morning though, when his alarm goes off and we see that it’s 7am on 7th September again, do we realise that Abhimanyu is stuck in a time-loop.


So, as is customary with time-loop narratives, the next part of the story goes about repeating the scenes we have already covered, cementing them in place, and using them as markers for the plot as well as any progression that does happen. Abhimanyu then, finds himself in that very familiar predicament, where anything he achieves within one twenty-four hour period is then wiped clean and put back the way it was by the time he wakes up the next/same morning. This makes figuring out how to break the time-loop a very difficult prospect indeed. Soon enough it's day 7,300 in Abhimanyu’s own personal Continuum and lo and behold there’s a ring on the doorbell, where a familiar looking stranger (Kumar) is waiting, set to change the course of Abhimanyu’s day and perhaps the rest of his life.


Shot and directed by Nitish Shankar, who also stars as Abhimanyu, and written and edited by Balasurya Shanmugasundaram, Continuum was shot in a single location in Chennai and is told through both Tamil and English. It will likely come as no surprise to learn that Continuum was a lockdown movie and was made towards the end of 2020 while COVID-19 was rife and India was implementing its lockdown strategies. The narrative then comes across as a very simple metaphor for the banal repetition of a life contained and the mundanity of a life lived without meaning. Personal search is always a big theme for time-loop movies – just think of Groundhog Day (1993) – and Continuum is no different as Abhimanyu must come to terms with who he is inside, rather than who he is when the external world is within reach.


Filming with almost no budget, Shankar tries to keep things simple throughout, staying in one location, repeating shots to create the feel of the time-loop, and using only what he has around him to create his narrative. This is managed fairly well and despite the repetition it never feels as though Shankar dwells too long on one thing. The direction works for the small location which is being filmed, the acting is serviceable if not exactly dramatic, and the music from Indrajit delivers a tense and constant throughline for the film. There are, however, some parts of Continuum which just don’t add up.


For a time-loop movie which is hung up on the mechanics of time and time-travel, the maths sometimes appears to be pretty poor. Trying to gain the Master Number 777 for example, through the timestamp of 7am 7th September, seems a bit silly when September was moved through the calendar, and therefore spacetime, from the seventh month to the ninth month, surely making any calculation of the time-loop’s occurrence from the Julian calendar null and void. Then, on day 7,300 Abhimanyu finally breaks free, after exactly twenty-years, a very auspicious anniversary – except that it isn’t. The maths says 365 x 20 = 7,300 which is bang on, but there’s no allowance in there for Leap Years, which means Abhimanyu’s reprieve actually came five days too early, and again it’s the basic maths which undermines the integrity of the theoretical physics trying to be discussed.


The technobabble which dogs the final scenes of the film don’t do Continuum any favours and neither do the sections which Shankar seems to have taken directly from Interstellar (2014) and Tree Of Life (2011), which he uses to develop his denouement. It’s a shame that for a film which is all about breaking free from restrictions there’s not quite enough original thought or integrity to make it into something unique.

About the Film Critic
William Hemingway
William Hemingway
Digital / DVD Release, Short Film, World Cinema
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