- BOTTOM LINE
A Time-Travel Film Where the Time Crawls
|Platform Netflix||Genre Action|
What Is the Story About?
See You Yesterday is another unsurprising time-travel film where its protagonists harp back into the past to set things right for the future. Destiny is not a game that one should toy around with and the protagonists in the film realise it the hard way. In their first year of high school, best friends Claudette and Sebastian come together to build a pair of time machines, in an attempt to secure a top spot in a science competition that would earn them name, fame, and scholarships. There’s a trick about the backpack-model time machine they’ve built; it can only take them one day forward or backward. How do they use it to save Claudette’s brother from dying in a fake encounter with the cops? A fatigued viewer is caught in a painful time loop for an answer.
Eden Duncan-Smith, in the role of Claudette, headlines this story that tries to be emotional and intelligent at the same time. She’s extremely sincere in her portrayal of a high-schooler and provides the right emotional justification for her role. Dante Crichlow as Sebastian gives an inconsistent performance where he tries too hard to appear cool. Despite being cast in a role that has lesser scope for performance, Astro, essaying the part of Claudette’s brother, brings out the various dimensions of his role with elan. He’s certainly a talent to watch out for.
Most time-travel stories across the world are tied around the possibility of avoiding certain mistakes committed in the past, in a bid to secure a rosy future. Here, the time machine is an excuse for a girl to fight for the lives of her friend and the brother. The usual premise apart, the scientific basis for the film is certainly laughable. The filmmaker Stefon Bristol thinks its enough to throw in some scientific jargon a.l.a protons, neutrons, energy and time as part of his detailing. The effort taken by the protagonists in building the time machine too is far from believable, owing to which you never connect with their concerns.
The storyteller unnecessarily complicates a simple plot and prolongs his sequences to a point of boredom. The material for a 45-minute extended short film is overtly glorified in 87 minutes. A couple of aspects that provide novelty to the experience are the naivety, vulnerabilities of its 16-year-old protagonists amid a community dominated by the blacks. Unlike the know-it-all’s in most sci-fi films, the high school kids feel like humans who are okay about admitting their mistakes. The film, however, doesn’t have any nuance or layering in the story to offer them a compelling characterisation.
Beyond a point, there’s too much of going back and forth in the screenplay, that the confusion of the writers is exposed. The filmmaker had also wanted to explore the story of the blacks amid a sci-fi backdrop, but the writing is hardly impactful. The narrative merely beats around the bush, convolutes matters and deceives in an inconclusive ending. A viewer would probably want to use the time machine in the film to un-see the 87-minute ordeal.
Music and Other Departments?
If there’s anything that provides some meat to the backdrop of the blacks community in the story, it’s got to be the music. Michael Abels uses rock-music undertones and Carribean backgrounds for the film, that are equally stylish and evocative. Jenniffer Lee’s editing is a disaster with too many inconsequential scenes, moments of nothingness. The lack of coherence sabotages the film’s prospects. The scope for visual value in the film is very little and within his limitations, the cinematographer Felipe Vara de Rey does a reasonable job. The VFX could have been better though.
Eden Duncan Smith’s performance
Interesting use of music
Extremely poor writing
Lack of nuance/detailing in the backdrop
An overstretched narrative
Will You Recommend It?
See You Yesterday Review by Srivathsan