Directed by Paul Currie, ‘2:22’ centers on Dylan (Michiel Huisman, ‘The Age of Adaline’, ‘The Invitation’, TV’s ‘Game Of Thrones’), an air traffic controller who notices the patterns in life (as stated in an eye-rolling opening voiceover). He notes different people doing the same thing in the same order - women laughing, a person saying “Can I help you?”, a car horn, a dude picking his nose (not really), etc. His life is rocked when he narrowly escapes being involved in a mid-air collision between two passenger planes, caused by a mysterious blinding light that happened at 2:22pm. These strange occurrences continue and lead Dylan to meet Sarah (Teresa Palmer, ‘Hacksaw Ridge’, ‘Lights Out’), with whom he feels inexplicably linked, which disturbs her wanker ex, hologram artist Jonas (Sam Reid, ‘The Limehouse Golem’).
Dylan had prepared to be a pilot like his father but altered his career out of a fear of flying, and Sarah had prepared to be a dancer but broke her knee, altering her decision to stay in the arts but as the employee of an art gallery. Together the two discover uncanny similarities with their current predicament and a double murder committed a generation ago. With a grisly fate looming (a possible re-enactment of a 30 year-old murder scene in Grand Central Station), Dylan must solve the mystery of 2:22 to preserve a love whose second chance has finally come.
Huisman is a good-looking bloke with an impressive head of hair, a limited emotional range and a general lack of charm and charisma (furrowing his brow is his signature move). Palmer is also an aesthetically-pleasing human specimen but she actually has some serious dramatic chops which she’s rarely allowed to show (watch ‘Berlin Syndrome’ if you don't believe me). ‘2:22’ gives Palmer a particularly thankless role – the lady seriously needs to push for better films. “I was on that flight,” she says in one key scene. “I nearly killed you,” Huisman replies, to which Palmer gasps: “No, you saved me!" Meanwhile, I squirmed in embarrassment.
In the throes of trying to figure everything out, he writes on a glass pane the extremely deep phrase, “2:22 - BOOM!” High-brow shit, my friends.
Both actors play their characters as fated lovers, defined by matching birthdays and influenced by the dying Hamlin star, its light finally reaching Earth. Additional drama is supplied by Jonas, a hilariously self-important artist who can’t get over Sarah and whose latest work is a hologram display of Grand Central Station, filled with the same details as Dylan’s visions.
As crafted by screenwriters Todd Stein and Nathan Parker, ‘2:22’ has a fart-sniffing, pretentious script that frequently dips into the embarrassing, with loads of metaphysical mumbo-jumbo and contrivances. See the scene where Huisman has one of those classic “visionary who scrawls random symbols and bullshit all over a room to work out a problem” moments. In the throes of trying to figure everything out, he writes on a glass pane the extremely deep phrase, “2:22 - BOOM!” High-brow shit, my friends. While it aspires to be a mind-bending tale about time and intransigence, the movie doesn’t have the creative drive to be anything more than a tepid mystery with a few ridiculous twists and turns. It also comes replete with a grand finale that attempts to explain everything, finishing the effort off with some screen poetry and half-baked closure.
There are some really good time loop thrillers around - stuff like Christopher Smith’s ‘Triangle’, Duncan Jones’ ‘Source Code’, Tony Elliot’s ‘Arq’ on Netflix, and Nacho Vigalondo’s ‘Timecrimes’. Seek these films out! Unfortunately, ‘2:22’ has more in common with turds like Joel Schumacher’s ‘The Number 23’ or Alex Proyas’ ‘Knowing’. Like those films, it isn’t nearly as brainy as it believes itself to be, and direly needed stronger writing, editing and casting to give the film the impact needed in order for the conceptual and the philosophical to be transformed into something even remotely captivating.